Rockies’ Helton gets 2-year, $9 million contract extension |

Rockies’ Helton gets 2-year, $9 million contract extension

Troy E. Renck
The Denver Post

TUCSON – Todd Helton is the face of the Rockies’ face. Now, they will have a chance to grow wrinkled together.

The greatest player in franchise history has set himself up to retire as a Rockie – the only team he’s ever played for – after signing a two-year, $9.9-million contract extension and agreeing to defer $13.1 million of the remaining money owed him.

“We view him in the same way as a Cal Ripken, George Brett and Tony Gwynn. He’s a Rockie, and a Hall of Famer we believe,” general manager Dan O’Dowd said today. “We felt like a player of this caliber and what he means to us that this is something we didn’t want to take to the end. And he was so open-minded it working with us. It was something that

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made sense, and it’s great for the fans to be able to celebrate him and know he will be here.”

O’Dowd also told The Post that Helton will have a role with the Rockies following his retirement, though no specifics have been discussed.

“When they brought it up to me in December, there was no way I wasn’t going to sign,” Helton said. “This is where I want to be. I know from talking to a lot of other players, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I know what we have here, and I know that we are really good.”

Helton, 36, talked earlier this spring of wanting to play for the Rockies as long as they’d let him. That desire and the team’s transformation into a contender made today’s announcement possible. Helton’s original nine-year, $141.5-million extension had one more season remaining in 2011 at $19.1 million with a $4.6 million buyout for 2011.

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