Helton gets two-year extension, will be Rockie for life

First baseman Todd Helton has agreed to a contract restructuring and extension that will allow him to finish his career where it began, with the Colorado Rockies.

Helton agreed on Thursday to a two-year, $9.9 million contract extension that runs through the 2013 season.

The first baseman also agreed to defer $13.1 million of his $19 million salary in 2011 over a 10-year period beginning in 2014, the team said.

"We reached out for Todd in the wintertime, and had quiet discussions," Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd said. "He understood what we were trying to do and wanted to retire as a Rockie."

Under the restructuring, Helton will receive a $4.5 million signing bonus payable in 2011 plus a $6 million base salary with $13 million deferred until after his playing career.

He will be paid salaries of $4.9 million in 2012 and $5 million in 2013.

Helton was slowed by back problems in 2008 and underwent back surgery in September 2009. He returned last year to hit .325 in 151 games with 38 doubles, 15 home runs, 86 RBIs and a .416 on-base percentage.

"We think he can be a very productive player for the next years," O’Dowd said. "Maybe beyond that, who knows? We just didn’t want this thing to get into the last year of his contract."

Helton signed a nine-year, $141.5 million contract extension in March 2001 that took effect in 2003. That deal will pay Helton $16.6 million this year and $19 million in 2011 with a $4.6 million buyout on a $23 million option in 2012. That buyout now becomes moot with Helton receiving $4.9 million in salary for 2012.

The Rockies also will leave the door open for Helton to remain a part of the organization after he’s finished playing. The Rockies’ first round draft pick in 1995 out of the University of Tennessee, Helton holds every franchise offensive record.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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