With the offseason in full swing, we have a little time to go over some transactions that has shaped the team over the past 27 years.
Helms, a six-foot-four, 230 lb. third baseman from Gastonia, NC, was born on May 12th, 1976. Initially a 10th round selection by the Atlanta Braves back in the 1994 MLB Amateur Entry Draft, he was a seven-season major league veteran by the time he signed with Florida.
In those first seven major league seasons by Helms, four with the Braves, and three with the Milwaukee Brewers, he totaled a WAR figure of -0.8. To put that into perspective, he was worth somewhat less than a “replacement” level player.
To explain WAR a little bit, a team comprised of replacement level players would hypothetically win at a .294 clip – or a 48-114 season. Helms did put in two seasons of work at above replacement level, both with the Brewers with 0.8 in 2003 and 0.9 in 2005. The Marlins were hoping for a little of that when they inked Helms to the low-cost deal.
To that end, the Marlins were a success. Helms put up his best ever major league numbers in 2006 with the Marlins. He played in a career-high 140 games, and hit .329/.390/.575 with 10 homers and 47 RBI, with a 149 OPS+.
Defensively, Helms played mostly at first base for the Marlins that season, with 88 games versus only 24 at the hot corner. He also played once in left field, and pinch-hit in 52 contests overall, leading Joe Borchard‘s 49 opportunities.
Helms collected multiple hits 20 times through the season, with three or more on four occasions. On June 14th, he went deep twice with three RBI, going three-for-four in a 6-5, 10-inning win over Atlanta. On July 5th, Helms went three-for-five in an 18-9 Marlins win against the Washington Nationals, falling a home run short of the cycle with three RBI. On September 27th, Helms finished with two singles, a double, and a triple as the Marlins topped the Cincinnati Reds, 7-2.
More from Marlins History
- Miami Marlins One-Year Wonder 1B
- Miami Marlins players & the 2023 Hall of Fame
- Former Miami Marlins star is retiring
- Gary Sheffield or Mark Buehrle, will either Marlin make the Hall of Fame?
- Why don’t we see more dynasties? Part 3
Despite appearing in a career-high 140 contests, Helms started in only 47 of them. The team went 23-24 with him in the lineup from the jump, as opposed to 57-58 record without for an 80-82 full season mark that left them fourth in the National League East, 19 games behind the Division winning New York Mets.
Helms was indeed at his best in this season for Florida, finishing with a 1.7 WAR. Long-time fans will no doubt remember he later played another four seasons for the team after spending 2007 with the Philadelphia Phillies. In those four seasons, he essentially erased his positive impact on the overall franchise by totaling -1.8 WAR.
Over a total of 13 seasons when it was all said and done, Helms retired with a -1.7 overall WAR. No doubt when he looks back over the course of his major league career, he remembers 2006 as the season it all came together for him, and we were lucky enough to see it.