Sox won’t be getting Helton

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DENVER (AP) – Todd Helton won’t be going to the Boston Red Sox.

The Colorado Rockies announced Monday night that trade talks with the Red Sox about a possible deal that would have sent Helton to Boston have ended and “there will be no further discussions.”

“This is not a trade that we were anxious to complete, but we are always exploring ways to improve our team,” Rockies owner Charlie Monfort said in a statement. “Discussions like these regarding a player of Todd’s talent and character are never easy, and it’s not surprising we were not able to reach an agreement.

“Todd has been and will continue to be an important part of our franchise, and we can’t wait to see him with the rest of the Rockies in Tucson,” when the team reports to spring training in Arizona next month.

Earlier Monday, Monfort told The Associated Press he wasn’t looking to dump salary in dangling Helton.

Monfort said the Red Sox would have to part with pitching prospects in addition to third baseman Mike Lowell and reliever Julian Tavarez, players they had already offered in exchange for the 33-year-old slugger.

“This is Todd Helton we’re talking about,” Monfort told The AP. “We’re not just going to give him up for nothing.”

The Rockies wanted to obtain promising relievers Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen from Boston.

“Tavarez and Lowell are good, and they’ll help us this season, but we need to get something else pretty good in return,” Monfort said before negotiations ended. “So, we’ll see.”

Monfort didn’t return a call to The AP seeking comment Monday night on why the talks were terminated.

“We won’t have any comment on the situation,” said Red Sox spokesman John Blake said Monday night.

Colorado would have paid a good chunk of the $90.1 million left on Helton’s contract, Monfort said, a deal that includes salaries of $16.6 million in each of the next four seasons, $19.1 million in 2011 and a $4.6 million buyout of a $23 million team option for 2012.

Earlier Monday, Monfort said the amount the Rockies would pay wasn’t a sticking point in negotiations, but rather, it was the players Colorado coveted in return for its most recognizable player.

Helton has a no-trade clause but was willing to waive it to play in Boston, although he has said repeatedly he’d prefer to stay in Denver.

Negotiations with Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein resumed Monday after general manager Dan O’Dowd returned to Denver after attending to a family matter over the weekend.

Early Monday, Monfort said he realized fans don’t want to see Helton and the Rockies part ways, and he didn’t relish that prospect, either.

“We’re not doing cartwheels over here at Coors Field over this, believe me,” he said of the discussions.

After averaging 35 homers and 117 RBIs over the previous seven seasons, Helton’s numbers dipped in 2005, when he hit .320 with 20 homers and 79 RBIs while he was playing with a bad back.

He also made his first career trip to the disabled list with a strained calf.

An intestinal infection sent him to the DL again last May and he never regained his strength, weight or power stroke upon his return, finishing with just 15 homers, a .302 batting average and 81 RBIs.

Helton said recently he had finally gotten back to 210 pounds and that his strength and stamina had returned. The Red Sox were encouraged by his clean bill of health.

While Monfort said tying up 30 percent of the team’s projected $55 million payroll this season isn’t a good business model, he wouldn’t mind seeing a healthy Helton batting cleanup for Colorado in 2007, either.

“We’d love to have Todd here and get to a World Series with Todd in a Rockies uniform and we believe we can get there,” Monfort said. “It’s not like a couple of years ago when we were just plugging holes.”

We feel we can win this division and that makes this a little more difficult.

“It seems like the days of someone playing their entire career for one team has gone by the wayside. I saw him retiring as a Rockie. It would be a great story. Some deals get made and some don’t. No one is going to be with one team their whole career and not be mentioned in a trade once or twice.”



AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed to this report.

AP-ES-01-29-07 2200EST

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