The Colorado Rockies have so far done nothing to repair the team that finished with the worst record in team history. To recap this offseason, the Rockies saw their former manager walk away from the team that ended 2012 with a sub-400 winning percentage and have replaced Jim Tracy with Walt Weiss, whose previous job was managing the Regis High School (home of Missy Franklin) Baseball team.
The biggest move of the off-season was re-signing club favorite Jeff Francis, the only good semi-composed starter last year, whose last experience was in the minors. Therefore, announcing Todd Helton’s likely return could be the team’s biggest of the off-season.
Team owner Dick Monfort and General Manager Dan O’Dowd continued a radio tour last week, stopping by AM 1510 in Denver. The PR train has seen stops at several locations, as the masters of manipulation try to buy back the fans they drove away with an unwatchable baseball team.
For the most part, the Rockies are willing one of the worst pitching staffs in history to have healthy arms and new attitudes. They have so far made no major shake-ups to the third worst team in baseball. However, the duo did proclaim on the airwaves a belief that Helton will return.
Helton underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in August. The 39-year-old has struggled over the last few years, especially maintaining power. Helton is the greatest player to ever grace the diamond in a purple Rockies uniform and Colorado fans respect Helton for his professionalism and mentoring ability. Helton is still ten years younger than the Rockies opening day starter last year, Jamie Moyer, who was 49 when he took the mound in April.
Helton’s role will likely be severely diminished if he returns to the Rockies. In 69 games last year, Helton’s batting average fell to .238, he is a .320 career hitter, and his mobility was limited in the field. One of the all-time best first base fielders, the slip in his defensive skills decreases his value for the Rockies.
They will place Helton into a pinch-hitter role where he will rarely see the field. This a role occupied by Jason Giambi since 2009, but he is not expected to return to Colorado. When Helton does call it quits, he will likely be the first Rockie to have his number retired. Until the Rockies fix their pitching staff, retirement ceremonies may be the most positive event in the team’s future.