Rockies face rough road ahead

Saddled with several big contracts, the Rockies will continue to be stuck in mediocrity for some time.

Originally Published: December 28, 2004
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
In the space of four months beginning in December 2000, the Colorado Rockies committed to spending $313.5 million on three players. I don't remember what I thought about these deals at the time, but in retrospect they look like the work of a madman, don't they?

Todd Helton
Todd Helton, a career .339 hitter, was second in the NL with a .347 average in '04.
They weren't. Those contracts – free-agent deals for Hampton and Neagle, a contract extension for Helton – were the brainchildren of Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd, and I can personally vouch for O'Dowd's sanity. In the case of Hampton and Neagle, O'Dowd's research led to the conclusion that pitchers with great change-ups were best-suited to the thin air of Denver, so he went to extreme lengths to acquire two of the best who throw the pitch.