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Thursday Morning: Helton, Jennings, Hawpe, who else?

Same figures in the early morning papers that we've been talking about the last couple of days. Los Angeles papers are in a tizzy about the Helton to the Angels rumor. Although there's some question as to who backed away from whom in those brief talks.

Is a Helton deal likely this off-season? No. Is it possible? I suppose, and if it happens it will probably look similar to where these reports had it going: Helton and large sums of cash to pay a chunk of his salary through 2011 to team X, with a package of young players/prospects to Colorado. Depending on how much of Helton's contract gets moved and who those prospects/players are, it could be worth it to make it happen and use the leftover cash to try and keep J.J. or Atkins, but like I said, any deal is unlikely and Todd ultimately has the veto power here so it has to be an agreeable situation for him, too.

As for new Jennings stuff, Renck sees the same thing we do, that the Astros seem to be the best fit at the moment, and says the Rockies are looking at Dan Wheeler, Willy Tavares and crucially, Jason Hirsh. Hirsh right now remains the deal breaker, the 'Stros don't want to give him up, the Rockies don't want to give away Jennings without a starter like him in return. The compromise in this figures to be for the Rockies taking a step down to Troy Patton and then if needed to Taylor Buchholz, but at that point (as OhNoKoolAid and I debated yesterday) you're starting to get into the shady area of whether it's more valuable to roll the dice on keeping Jennings into the season to see how the team performs. Freddy Garcia to Philly puts some added pressure on the Mets right now, so we have to keep an eye out on the Barry Zito negotiations. If he decides to go to Texas, we could see them re-enter the Jennings trade scenario, and they would have to find an alternative starter better than Brian Bannister to send with Lastings Milledge.

Brad Hawpe garnered enough interest from Dave Littlefield for him to offer John Grabow, but not even Mike Gonzalez who's at the center of a failed trade for the Braves' Adam LaRoche right now. Why is this brought up again? I have no idea why Pittsburgh's so focused on Brad right now. Anyway, the Rockies want a starter in return for Hawpe, and I do know that Colorado's interested in Baltimore's Rodrigo Lopez for some strange reason. Also, Baltimore's looking for left handed help in the outfield now that Luis Gonzalez has gone to the Dodgers.

Let's be clear here: Hawpe is greater than Lopez, but if the Orioles were to throw in more there, I wonder if we might be tempted to re-open the table on Brad. Again, it's very doubtful, but I think they could come up with a solid package if they really wanted to. The biggest problem with that scenario, of course, is that the Orioles are, well, Baltimor-onic when it comes to trades, nixing a deal with the Astros that would have netted them Roy Oswalt plus for Miguel Tejada last season.