While the city of Denver thaws out from the holiday blizzard, there are signs that the Angels' interest in Todd Helton are no longer in deep freeze.
Los Angeles officials inquired about Helton at the winter meetings and were prepared to offer a package of infielder Erick Aybar, first baseman Casey Kotchman and catcher Jeff Mathis. The Angels were reluctant to push the talks forward because of concerns regarding Helton's age, declining productivity and a nagging back injury, according to a source with direct knowledge of the discussions.
However, if the Rockies are willing to eat a substantial amount of the remaining $90.1 million contract owed Helton, particularly down the road when the contract escalates, Anaheim could revisit talks, according to a major league official. The teams have talked since the winter meetings, an indication that the deal, while a longshot, isn't completely dead.
Helton said two weeks ago that he has not requested a trade or been approached about approving a deal to Anaheim. He has veto power over any deal, but acknowledged that the Rockies "want to get rid of my contract." The reason is simple: Helton will earn $16.6 million next season on a projected $55-million cash payroll, one of baseball's smallest payrolls.