Josh Hamilton Trade Revisited


When the Cincinnati Reds swapped Josh Hamilton for Edinson Volquez with the Texas Rangers, the move caught little more than just a mention on ESPN’s bottom line.

After 2008, the trade looked like one of the most beneficial deals of the year as both sides reaped the rewards of their newly acquired youngsters.

Josh Hamilton quickly asserted himself as the most threatening hitter in the Rangers lineup as he blasted 32 HR and 130 RBI that season. He hit .304 and racked up 190 hits in what was easily his best year as a pro to date. After struggling with addiction, the Reds gave him a chance after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft.

Hamilton had a nice season in Cincinnati where he hit 19 HR and 47 RBI. However, Hamilton jived with some players in the Reds clubhouse, and he admitted to never feeling comfortable or connected within the Reds clubhouse.

In Volquez’ first season with the Reds, he made a case to start for the National League in the All-Star game. He finished the season 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA after earning his first all-star appearance. He also struck out 206 batters in 196 innings.

Since 2008, the Reds organization has been missing Josh Hamilton’s bat in their lineup, and Edinson Volquez has been no consolation. In 2009, Volquez made just 9 starts before he had season-ending Tommy John surgery. But on the other hand, Hamilton also struggled in 2009 to stay on the field. He finished the year with just 10 HR.

Coming into 2010, Hamilton needed to prove that he could stay healthy enough to be counted on in the middle of the Ranger lineup. All Hamilton did was win the AL batting title and lead the Rangers to their first world series appearance in franchise history. 40 doubles and 32 HRs later and Hamilton was named the National League MVP.

It wasn’t that Volquez was unheard from in 2010 though. He was. He returned from Tommy John not long after the All-Star break and suffered his ups and downs as he regained his rhythm. Volquez will be most remembered for his playoff appearance in 2010.

He started game 1 for the Reds and was easily forced out of the game against the Phillies who exposed Volquez for what he was, just another wild and inconsistent pitcher. As the Phillies jumped out to an early lead, Roy Halladay did the rest.

Jon Daniels resume is filled with moves that proved to be very beneficial for the Rangers, but the Hamilton trade just may be Daniels’ best. In 3 years since joining the Rangers, Josh Hamilton had 74 HR, 284 RBI, an MVP award, 3 All-Star appearances, and a World Series berth.

Volquez and the Reds cannot boast a comparable resume. In his time with the Reds, Volquez has a great record of 29-13 with an ever-rising 3.94 ERA, but he has managed less than 10 wins per season for the Reds and has missed over an entire season due to Tommy John.

Even when the Reds figured to start reaping the rewards of the deal in 2011, Volquez proved that he was not the ace of their rotation despite being named the opening day starter. He was just recently recalled from a trip in AAA Louisville where he worked on his command and control.

Reds fans imagine what could have been for an offense that already leads the NL in runs scored (they also led the NL in over 5 offensive categories in 2010). There lineup would have looked like this:

CF-Drew Stubbs
2B-Brandon Phillips
1B-Joey Votto
LF-Josh Hamilton
RF-Jay Bruce
3B-Scott Rolen
C-Ramon Hernandez
SS-Paul Janish

On Jon Daniels report card, he receives an A for this deal. The Reds traded Hamilton because they were not sure if he could ever stay healthy. He has had his injury problems, but Volquez has actually been the player to miss more time since the trade.

Score this deal a win for the Rangers.

Check out Fansided’s for a rebuttal on the Hamilton/Volquez swap.

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