Has the time come to ask who's going to be on first base next season for the Rockies?

Todd Helton has been a fixture there so long that it seems as if he'll be there forever. For 16 years, anyway, Helton's presence at first base has caused the likes of Brad Hawpe and Garret Atkins to change positions to outfield and third base on their way to the big leagues. Others, such as Ryan Shealy and Joe Koshansky, put up some big numbers on the way through the farm system, but fell by the wayside.

But Helton is approaching his 40th birthday and no longer is an everyday player.

When circumstances are such in baseball, the first reaction is to see what the farm system has to offer.

Let's look at Ben Paulsen with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and Kiel Roling with the Tulsa Drillers.

"We see them as developing prospects," said Zach Wilson, assistant director of player development for the Rockies. "Right now they are exactly where they should be. It's way too early to speak on the future, but if there's an opportunity, we'll see what happens."

Neither Paulsen nor Roling put up a lot of noticeable numbers in climbing up the development ladder. Helton served notice on his way to the Rockies, hitting .332, .352 and .352 in Double-A and Triple-A in his last two seasons of minor-league baseball in 1996 and 1997.