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Should the Rockies Bench Todd Helton?

According to Mark Kiszla, the answer is yes:

Rather than pick up a piece of lumber from the bat rack, Todd Helton should grab some pine on the bench.

Is it baseball blasphemy to suggest the Rockies should sit down the best player in franchise history?

At age 36, he's not Beltin' Helton anymore.

It's difficult to discuss this problem, and the solution will be even harder for manager Jim Tracy to address, but Jason Giambi deserves the lion's share of at-bats and more time at first base than Helton.

The Rockies offense is currently ranked in the middle of the pack in the National League in most categories (HR, OBP, runs, slugging %, batting average) and Helton is the obvious scapegoat for the team's offensive struggles. Helton is only hitting .261 with only one home run and nine RBIs. Despite his impressive .393 OBP, Helton's production has simply not been there for the Rockies this season and there is no question that the Rockies need more production from their first baseman if they are going to compete this season.

With that said, there is no reason for the Rockies to bench Helton in favor of Jason Giambi. In 45 at bats this season, Giambi is hitting only .244 with two home runs and a .379 OBP. Giambi is not exactly tearing the cover off the ball. Furthermore, defense has to be a factor here. Despite his offensive struggles, Helton is still playing a stellar first base and currently has an impressive 9.6 UZR/150. Giambi, on the other hand, has a career UZR/150 of -7.5, which suggests that if the Rockies put Giambi in the lineup everyday, that they would be taking a major hit defensively. There is no question that the Rockies are better off defensively with Helton playing everyday.

It's easy to be frustrated by Helton's sluggish performance thus far, but Todd Helton should absolutely be the starter for the Rockies for the time being.