Bits: A tribute to Helton, Pettitte, Rivera 

September, 23, 2013
As the 2013 baseball season enters its final week, it seems an appropriate time to pay tribute to the once-productive players that occasionally carried fantasy teams but have already announced their intention to retire. On Sunday, Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton knocked in four runs while New York Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte tossed seven terrific innings of two-hit, two-run ball. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, with 44 saves this season, will also be stepping aside after next weekend. And don’t forget San Diego Padres outfielder Mark Kotsay! OK, perhaps you already have.

But with Helton, Pettitte and Rivera, whether the first two end up in the Hall of Fame or not -- Rivera’s clearly going as soon as eligible -- fantasy owners should remember the good times, and they were very good times. Helton was a top-10 fantasy option for several years, in part due to the luxury of playing half his games at Coors Field, but he wasn’t exactly miserable on the road, either. Helton averaged 35 home runs, 118 RBIs and a .340 batting average over his first seven seasons. Imagine that today. This season, it’s Miguel Cabrera doing this and that’s it. Helton is among the top-20 first basemen for the past 30 days, so in a deep league, one can do worse this final week.

[+] EnlargeAndy Pettitte
Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY SportsAndy Pettitte got a well-deserved curtain call in what was likely his final start at Yankee Stadium.
Pettitte is expected to make one more start, Friday in Houston against the worst team in baseball, and those with something to play for and still using spot starters will want him active for that one. Pettitte, with 255 career wins, isn’t being discussed without current merits, after all; his ERA over the past month, in seven outings, is 2.40, and the Astros strike out quite a bit. Pettitte is available in more than 75 percent of ESPN standard leagues.