The Colorado Rockies are in talks with Boston to send Todd Helton to Beantown if the Rockies can receive enough value in return. A very upfront Charlie Monfort, Colorado's owner, speaks his mind in an AP article today. Helton is at that age (33) where he still should have plenty left in the tank, but his value is only going to go downhill. Ignoring loyalty, it might not be a bad time for Colorado to make some changes.
It appears that most of the big deals and signings have been completed in the Hot Stove League, as now the B-list players are being swooped up. Among them: Erstad to the White Sox, Cliff Floyd to the Cubs, Tomo Ohka to the Blue Jays and Jamey Wright to the Rangers.
For those loyal TCO readers out there, you are likely bathing in the pools of money won thanks to my fearless predictions on Friday. For the rest of you, perhaps you can seek out Chase Utley's cell phone number and ask him for a loan, thanks to his 7-year, $85 million deal he just signed with the Phillies.
TCO's fearless NFL Championship Game predictions:
Chicago (-2.5) over New Orleans
Look for Chicago's defense to allow nothing more than two field goals and a touchdown to the Saints, while the underrated offense finishes in the 20's, giving the Bears a double-digit victory Sunday.
Indianapolis (-3) over New England
It flies in the face of most trends, those being that the Patriots always win this time of year and Indy always loses. New England is not as strong, however, and last week's win over San Diego was far from impressive. On the flip side, the Colts beat Baltimore despite a subpar offensive performance, they have the home field, and most importantly, they now have Adam Vinatieri. In the end it will be Indianapolis by a touchdown.
According to ESPN.com, the Braves have traded Adam LaRoche to Pittsburgh for relief pitcher Mike Gonzalez. Unless Atlanta has something else up its sleeve, the right side of the infield will look quite sparse with LaRoche and Giles gone.
For a guy who played alongside Brady Anderson while the sideburned wonder was inexplicably pumping out 50 home runs in '96, sandwiched by seasons in the teens, Cal Ripken has stayed remarkably mum about the issue of steroids, Mark McGwire, and the Hall of Fame, claiming it's not his place to judge. Tony Gwynn, on the other hand, has at least been unafraid to voice his opinion, offering that McGwire should be in the Hall. In an AP article, Gwynn unabashedly claims that players, owners, and everyone else knew what was happening, indicating that McGwire shouldn't get punished now. While Gwynn makes some good points, McGwire's biggest stumbling block next to the steroid debate are his stats. Many people will look to the .263 career batting average and the sub-1,500 hits, claiming that McGwire shouldn't belong regardless of the drugs he did or didn't take. Keep looking, however, and you'll see that Big Mac led the league in OBP twice and has a career OBP just short of .400, not to mention the 13th best OPS career total in the game, so it's not like McGwire was stranding a lot of runners in his career.
Nevertheless, in a career that finished after the year 2000, the 500 home run hardly seems like automatic inclusion these days, and McGwire's inconsistent secondary stats coupled with steroid talk may keep him out of the Hall for many years - maybe until Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa are eligible. Sportswriters could elect that year to be a "drug exemption" year, and maybe even Brady Anderson will give the welcome speech.
The newest members of the Hall of Fame have been announced, and it's Ripken, Gwynn, and that's it. Guys like Gossage, Rice, and Dawson will have to wait another year, hoping their feats somehow seem more impressive after another year of reflection, while players like the immortal Harold Baines, receiving 5.3% of the votes, can be happy just for the chance to be on the ballot again next year. McGwire fell woefully short, receiving just 23.5% of the votes. For the complete rundown, check out ESPN.com.
Randy Johnson is headed back to the Diamondbacks, demonstrating that fans are forced to root more for the jersey than the guy in it. That's all fine and good, but it doesn't carry the same passion when you know 95% of the players on "your" team simply want to win a championship, regardless of the jersey being worn. I don't fault the players - who wouldn't leave a job for more money elsewhere? It's just a condition of free agency and high profits, but it sure makes the connection between ballplayer and fan less and less important.
Happy New Year! 2007 should be an exciting one for The Commish Online. I plan on continuing the popular columns, such as Hot Corner and Foul Territory as well as adding something new, possibly a couple interviews along the way. As always, the blog-style format will remain, giving you up-to-date information right at your fingertips all season long. Stay tuned for more offseason comments from TCO this entire winter!