DENVER -- Hoping to restructure their player payroll, the
Colorado Rockies will listen to trade offers for All-Star first
baseman Todd Helton and center fielder Preston Wilson, one of their
best hitters last season.
Manager Clint Hurdle said Tuesday the Rockies are not shopping
the two players but that they have to be prepared to make them
"We aren't in a position to say that anyone is untouchable,"
Hurdle told The Denver Post.
A Rockies spokesman and Helton's agent declined to comment on
the report Wednesday. Hurdle was on vacation and his cell phone was
not accepting messages.
In Helton's first six full seasons, he has batted .339 and
averaged 36 homers and 122 RBI. He hit a team-high .358 this past
season, missing his second National League batting crown by
"Tough times call for tough decisions," Helton told the Post.
"I would definitely be willing to listen [to trade proposals]."
Wilson led the National League with 141 RBI and was solid
"I would really like to remain in Denver," he said. "I feel
like the foundation is there for a great franchise. However, I do
understand that because of financial reasons, the organization may
have to make a move."
The Rockies payroll is expected to be just above $60 million in
2004. But the team has committed $53.1 million to six players:
right fielder Larry Walker, catcher Charles Johnson, pitcher Denny Neagle, Atlanta pitcher Mike Hampton, Wilson and Helton.
Helton is owed $130.9 million during the next eight seasons, an
average of $16.4 million. Wilson has $21.5 million and two years
left on a contract that offers a limited no-trade clause in 2005,
his agent said.
Walker, Johnson and Neagle all have complete no-trade clauses.
Walker, 36, hit .284 with 16 homers and 79 RBI last season, and
recently had surgery on his left shoulder. Johnson, 32, has caught
more than 1,000 games, while Neagle, 35, is likely to miss next
season after ligament transplant surgery on his throwing elbow.