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Helton talks are off

Schilling now says he wants to pitch in '08

After the J.D. Drew signing marathon finally ended, it seemed there would be a calm period as the Red Sox prepared to head off to Fort Myers to face the inevitable Daisuke Matsuzaka frenzy when pitchers and catchers report Feb. 16.

But the Sox aren't exactly tiptoeing toward Fort Myers.

Last night, the compelling possibility that Todd Helton might be joining the team evaporated as the Rockies announced that the trade talks -- which had become contentious at times -- have been broken off.

"Discussions like these regarding a player of Todd's talent and character are never easy, and it's not surprising we were not able to reach an agreement," said Rockies owner Charlie Monfort. "Todd has been and will continue to be an important part of our franchise."

Monfort also said there will be no further discussions.

Meanwhile, Curt Schilling added to the day's drama by announcing on WEEI radio that he has changed his mind about retiring and wants to play at least one more year after this one and is already discussing a new deal to stay with Boston.

Schilling, 40, who will earn $13 million this season, said he would likely be looking for a similar contract for 2008.

"I'm in discussions with the Red Sox," he said. "We had talked last week, and there's a lot going on, obviously, right now, but where I'm going to play beyond 2007 . . . I hope it's Boston.

"This is where I want to play, and in the days leading up to spring training, we'll figure it out one way or the other. If I go into this season without a contract from the Red Sox, then I will go out and find a home for 2008."

The Red Sox and Rockies were far apart on two major issues regarding Helton: how much of his contract the Rockies would be willing to assume and which prospects the Red Sox were willing to part with.

The Rockies wanted to choose one or two players from a list of Jon Lester, Craig Hansen, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard, Manny Delcarmen, and Clay Buchholz. The Red Sox countered with more of a second-tier prospect list.

The Sox also were not pleased that the trade conversations were made public by the Rockies. Monfort had even named third baseman Mike Lowell and pitcher Julian Tavarez as two of the players who would go to Colorado.

"It's a shame the names got out," said a Sox official. "Now we have to talk to those players and calm them down."

As for Schilling, the enthusiasm of Sox owner John Henry suggests the Sox might act quickly on him.

"He's such a competitor, you had to figure that if he is healthy, pitching well, and still has that fire, it would make sense for him to continue," wrote Henry in an e-mail. "He's still one of the elite pitchers in all of baseball."

At the Boston Baseball Writers dinner Jan. 11, Schilling spoke like a man who was not going to change his mind about hanging it up. He said he had too many things to do, too many family situations to consider. But after speaking to his family, he heard no objections to pitching another year.

"I've known for a while," said Sox manager Terry Francona. "We talked about it. I can't remember when, but I knew what he was thinking.

"The older you get, the bigger the price you pay for playing. You have children to consider and now Curt has a business [Green Monster Inc.] and all of those things come into play.

"But a year is a long time. A lot can change, and the way he feels right now, he feels he can keep pitching. I don't doubt that Curt can pitch at a high level as long as he wants to."

Schilling went 15-7 with a 3.97 ERA last season, and a couple more good seasons would enhance his Hall of Fame credentials. The Sox also stand to have a contending team, so he could have the chance to win another championship. And pitchers such as Tom Glavine, David Wells, Kenny Rogers, Jamie Moyer, and Roger Clemens are pitching effectively into their 40s.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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