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Saturday Rockpile: Todd Helton is Key to the Rockies' Success in 2011

Rockies' Todd Helton driven to keep playing at top level - The Denver Post
The argument has been made quite often over the past few seasons that "as Troy Tulowitzki goes, the Rockies go." However, I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement, as the numbers prove that it really should be "as Todd Helton goes, the Rockies go." In the Rockies playoff seasons of '07 and '09, Todd's combined slash line was a healthy .322/.425/.491. In the two disappointing years for the club, Todd's line was a much more pedestrian .260/.374/.376.

My biggest worry about Helton going forward is that he is coming off of his first season of more strikeouts than walks since 2001. Even in his injury-riddled 2008 season, he managed to walk 11 more times than he struck out. As his age increases and his swing declines, it looks like his eye at the plate may be taking a bit of a turn for the worse as well. On the bright side, I'm aware that a significant part of the strikeout problem could be due to loss of bat speed because of the faulty back situation. Helton says in the article that he hasn't been worrying about his back, but rather regaining strength in his legs.

Sure, the Rockies picked up Ty Wigginton and re-signed Jason Giambi as possible insurance policies, but neither can match the defense that Helton provides at first, and while Giambi can come close to matching his on-base skills, there's still nobody on the roster that can provide as much value as Todd Helton at first base. That's why I feel comfortable in saying that if Helton is able to pull it together for the majority of the season like he did in the two odd-numbered years prior to this one, it will propel the Rockies into the postseason once again.

Twitter / Colorado Rockies: Rockies and Jason Hammel Reach Agreement

#Rockies and Jason Hammel have reached an agreement on a 2-yr contract. Will cover his last 2 yrs of arb. eligibility.

I'm sure this will be covered more in-depth (including the monetary terms of the agreement) shortly. Whatever that dollar amount ends up being, I'm quite sure it'll be significantly less than the $32 million that he's been worth over the past two seasons.

Los Angeles Angels trade Mike Napoli, Juan Rivera to Toronto Blue Jays for Vernon Wells - ESPN Los Angeles
After unloading all but $5 million of the $86 million left on Wells' deal, Alex Anthopolous should already be the front runner for MLB's Executive of the Year.