2008 Reds / Reds - General

Josh Hamilton trade roundup

I’m still torn about the trade of Josh Hamilton to the Rangers in exchange for Edinson Volquez, Texas’ minor league pitcher of the year. It will probably take a few days for me to decide, and part of that is the fact that I really liked Josh Hamilton, so I’m not sure I can be completely objective about this.

I’ve said multiple times that I thought trading Hamilton was a good idea (there is a good chance that his value will never be higher than it is today), but I’m just not sold on Volquez yet. I need to research him a little more. He’s never been, as someone said in the comments yesterday, as highly rated as Homer Bailey, but that doesn’t mean that he does not have the potential to be a very good pitcher in Cincinnati.

So I’ll wait to draw my final conclusions about this trade. For now, here’s what others are saying about the deal…

–Here’s CTR’s piece in the Post, which includes this quote from Hamilton:

“I think I was in the right place for me coming back to baseball,” said Hamilton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft. “Cincinnati welcomed me with open arms – who would have thought a city that had never seen a guy play baseball would? It’s going to be one of my favorite places forever. I enjoyed the fans, the organization, I talked to (general manager) Wayne (Krivsky) and told him how much I appreciated the opportunity in taking a chance and seeing what I can do.”

I was there on Opening Day when Hamilton got a standing ovation. It was a surreal moment.

CTR also has some interesting quotes about Volquez and about the trade:

“(Volquez) is athletic with a live arm,” Krivsky said. “He’s from the Dominican Republic and his idol is Pedro Martinez. He’s got charisma, animation. He’s got a fastball, in the 92-94 (mph) range, but can go get 97 when he needs to. He’s got a hard breaking ball that acts like a slurve at times. He’s got impressive stuff, it’s a matter of him maturing and commanding that stuff.”

Volquez also started six games for the Rangers last season, going 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA.

“This trade would not have been done had we not felt that (Volquez) was able to not only compete, but win a job in our rotation in ’08,” Krivsky said.

The trade of Hamilton could open up a spot in the outfield for Jay Bruce, Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2007.

“We have depth in the outfield and we’re trading from our position of depth,” Krivsky said. “To have a guy like Jay Bruce and Chris Dickerson and (Norris) Hopper, we have some depth in the outfield. It allowed us to consider trading a guy like Hamilton, and if we didn’t feel real good about the starting pitcher coming back we wouldn’t have made the deal.”

Krivsky, though, didn’t rule out another move for a more experienced starter.

“It depends on what you’re giving up and the price tag from the standpoint of talent, or if it’s a free agent, years and dollars,” Krivsky said. “You’re always looking for pitching. There aren’t any jobs being given out, they will have to earn a position. With Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Matt Maloney and Homer Bailey, you have four starters that are 21-24 that are on the cusp of making a mark on the major leagues. To have four guys 21-24 with the type of ceiling all four of these guys have, we feel good.”

All that is reasonable, though (A) I’m not sure what Volquez’s “charisma, animation” has to do with anything and (B) mentioning Jay Bruce’s name in the same sentence as Hopper and Dickerson is insane.

On that note, please tell me I’m crazy for foreseeing Norris Hopper in CF in the Opening Day lineup:

With Hamilton gone, the Reds’ center field position is open for competition in the spring, Krivsky said.

“That’s what spring training will determine,” Krivsky said. “(Manager) Dusty (Baker) will play the guy who earns it. With Hopper, (Ryan) Freel, Dickerson and Bruce we’re comfortable with the four guys in competition for playing time.”

John Fay wonders if this trade will “make way for Jay” Bruce, but I’m less than confident. I hope Bruce is the Opening Day CF.

–Red Hot Mama finds the trade “neither inexplicable nor completely insane.”

Hal McCoy says that the glut in the outfield made Hamilton expendable.

–Some quotes from Hamilton and Krivsky on Fay’s blog.

–Some folks have wondered whether this trade makes it more or less likely that the Reds will be able to swing a trade for Baltimore’s Erik Bedard. The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Bedard is not likely to be traded by Opening Day at this point.

50 thoughts on “Josh Hamilton trade roundup

  1. i still dont get it we have two perfectly good young arms who are major league ready.
    but we trade for another one who played horrible in the majors

  2. I’m usually very critical of Krivsky, but I like this move. Small market teams need to take risks if they want to win. This gives us 4 young guys to compete for the rotation this year. Hopefully at least 2 can make the rotation at the beginning of the year, and maybe 1 more by mid-season. As much a fan favorite as Josh Hamilton is, he will always be a big risk, from both a physical injury standpoint and a mental/emotional standpoint, and eventually this team has to worry about stopping guys from scoring and not relying on 10-8 wins. Not bad, Wayne. Now extend Dunn.

  3. I’m torn, too. Great talent. Completely unpredictable future.

    Interesting aspect of the Krivsky quote…most of us talk about Bailey & Cueto and leave Maloney ou of the discussion. He has very nice minor league numbers, too. Add EV and that’s 4 nice rotation arms. Nice to see that much upper level pitching talent in the Reds organization. Let’s hope they have the bats to provide run support.

  4. There is only a “glut” of outfielders if Dunn and Junior get extended or Votto moves to the outfield.

  5. I LOVE THE TRADE!!!!!

    I admit, I didn’t see this coming, but that doesn’t mean I can’t like it, LOL!

    Let’s face it, someone had to go because we had a HUGE GAPING hole or two in the rotation and the free agent market was pathetic.

    Krivsky managed to get a very high ceiling type of guy with a power arm for a talented player with, if we’re being honest, some serious question marks regarding his future.

    I hope this also translates into a new long-term contract for Dunn, or that “position of strength” talk might ring a little hollow next year.

  6. My favorite Reds player… I’ve already asked for a Texas Ranger Hamilton jersey as soon as they come out! The Rangers are extremely fortunate to have obtained The Josh Hamilton. I’ll still always be a Reds fan because I grew up that way, but I will now follow the Rangers and be a little more interested in the AL.

  7. I like the trade. A good young arm is good. Building a foundation in young starters to me molded by the like of Harang and Poole will be good. Adding an experienced arm will help too. Now cull the bullpen more. Burton-Weathers-Cordero is a good start. Now the door is open for Bruce in Center. And we have more top chips that we can trade.

  8. I just don’t know enough about EV to state an opinion regarding good/bad. If he pans out to be a solid #3 type of guy, it makes sense. I would have preferred getting someone with a little better command than EV. He is highly regarded within the Rangers organization, so he has that going for him. But isn’t a highly regarded Rangers pitching prospect similar to going to the prom with your favorite sister? I am hopeful, but still reserved. If we enter the season with our current rotation I will be disappointed. Hopefully we have one more move in store.

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  10. One prospect list I saw had Volquez ranked behind Jordan Tata, that’s not impressive. Another top 50 list didn’t even mention him. Volquez is a longshot to ever reach all star type production in the majors, whilst Hamilton has already proven that level of production when healthy. Sure he’s an injury risk, but look at it this way, Griffey isn’t an injury risk, Griffey is an injury CERTAINTY, and somehow he’s got a job, oh, and Hamilton is the most talented hitter on the team, and that includes Junior.

    If you want Volquez, they traded the wrong guy. They gave up waaayyyyyy too much for a lotto ticket.
    Hamilton for Bedard….I can see that, Hamilton for Volquez, an inconsistent pitcher with erratic command who’s gotten throttled in every big league trial thus far……

    good luck with that.

  11. As many have said, I’m not sure about this trade yet, I’m not sure they got enough either…but greg, come on.

    Comparing Hamilton’s 1/2 season to Junior, even at this point in his career, doesn’t wash. The “most talented hitter” on the roster? After 300 ML ABs?

    And Hamilton alone for Bedard? Come on…

  12. Bill,

    I stand by those comments….keep in mind, I didn’t say that his career accomplishments outweighed Griffey’s, just that he’s a better hitter, more impressive at the plate. In my opinion he’s got better bat speed, a better approach at the plate, and more power.

    Hamilton for Bedard – I’m saying it would take that kind of return for me, as GM, to move him. If I were offered Volquez, I might feel insulted and end trade talks right there.


    The “most talented hitter” on the roster? After 300 ML ABs?


    Absolutely, that’s my opinion.

  13. In 2006 EV was rated above Hamels, etc? Who cares? That was 2006, before the season. In 2007 he was unrated, right?

    He sure as hell wasn’t rated above those guys in 2007.

  14. Man! Don’t know about the checkered past of Josh but I think it can/ will be a win – win situation for both.

  15. he has been up and down through the texas orginazation thats why his confidence is blown

  16. He wasn’t rateed in 2007 because he was ineligible due to his amount of time in the bigs. Hamels and company weren’t rated for the same reason.

    Is his confidence blown??? Mark Connor used the same tactic of a dramatic demotion on Hallady, it seemed to have worked well.

  17. Everyone has opinion about talent. Look at the wide range of comments so far. But until players get a few years big leagues under their belts it’s all talk. What I know is pitching is at a premium. Everyone overpays for pitching not just Reds. Pitching wins games. I am sure other teams offered for Hamilton and if Reds could have gotten more they would have.

  18. OK, so he was ineligible…but he was certainly FAR behind those other guys after having a 2006 so bad he started in A ball in 2007.

    If eligible, he would have probably dropped out of the top 100 anyways.

  19. If EV goes .500 in 2008 and plays the whole season, Hamilton can hit 40 HRs and 100 RBIs and this deal is basically a push.

    This deal did take some balls, but you gotta love it. Stocking up on quality MLB ready arms is awesome.

  20. Hmmm….since everyone ‘overpays’ for pitching, because of that, the Reds should follow, plus, put no limit on how much they should overpay….hmmmm….interesting philosophy. Maybe you’re right, maybe they should trade Bruce for Kip Wells. Or maybe Votto for a below average MR like Jose Capellan.

  21. quote:

    If EV goes .500 in 2008 and plays the whole season, Hamilton can hit 40 HRs and 100 RBIs and this deal is basically a push.


    This assumes a pitching ‘W’ has meaning. All you know from a Win, is that you appeared in a game, and retired at least one batter.

    Wins are the most meaningless stat in all of baseball.

  22. Wow, I wish Josh well. I hope he continues to stay clean and play as well as he did early this season!
    It doesn’t matter how the trade turns out, he will be missed by the fans as well as the players in the clubhouse.

  23. well aparently he wasnt to popular with some of the players
    they didnt like his special attention

  24. Keith Law is a dusch Cub’s fan who hates the Reds. I can’t believe you listen to that no talent ass clown. The only reason he writes about baseball is because he’s waiting for an opening in the NFL department.

  25. Keith Law is a dusch Cub’s fan who hates the Reds.

    With trades like the Hamilton deal, I’m starting to think Krivsky is too. 🙂 This was a terrible deal for the Reds if their intention is to go to the playoffs in 2008. We got the short end of the stick, yet again.

  26. While the dust has yet to settle on this one, it is obvious the Reds cannot win without adding some starting pitching. At least Wayne is doing something – improved the bullpen, now is taking a chance on improving the starting staff. I think you add Bedard to the rotation and one or two of the young guys come thru and you have a real shot at the division/wildcard. Standing pat this team had no chance IMHO

  27. I was not against trading Hamilton, but I always thought he would be part of a package deal for a proven major leaguer. I’m kinda confused by this deal because its basically one prospect with an uncertain future and a shaky past for another. I guess it filled positional needs for both teams, but I think thats all you can say for certain.

    As for center field, I’m almost positive we’ll see a platoon of Hopper/Freel. In a a way it makes sense as those two are the closest thing we have to a true leadoff hitter, although they are way less talented than Bruce.

  28. Trades, thankfully, are based on scouting, and not on prospect lists put out by various people – in the end, Krivsky evaluates talent based on what his scouts tell him, not on stats, not on list placement. What concerns me a little bit is his track record – other than Jared Burton, he’s not done well in scounting pitchers. Bray and Majewski hopefully will prove me wront.

  29. Just another example of groupthink coming from Cincinnati. Listing Hopper, Freel, and Dickerson among the reasons why Josh Hamilton became “expendable” is just insane. Hopper and Freel would barely make the team on a contender, and Dickerson is just another mediocre outfielder.

    That leaves Bruce, an unproven major league commodity who has torn up the minors but has never played in the bigs, and people just want to hand the job to him.

    Lots of guys tear up the minors and nothing else. Bruce needs to prove it on the field before I’m sold on dumping Hamilton, but we won’t see Bruce, knowing Baker’s past — Hopper and Freel will be in the outfield for the bulk of the year. Yippee.

  30. I’m leery that we won’t see Bruce starting in CF also. I’m also very afraid that if Griffey get dinged again, we may see way to much of Freel and Hopper in the OF at that same time. Then we’re likely to have half of our starting offense (Ross, Gonzalez, Freel, Hopper) OPSing under league average. Oh, by the way, we still need a good bet middle of the rotation starting pitcher.

  31. Yeah, well Joey may not know baseball, Dave from L, but like him, this trade just kills me, too. Wayne may have done the right thing here since we all know how hard good young pitching is to come by, but I also know this:

    I have NEVER seen a freak like Josh Hamilton. The guy was born to play baseball. Period. What I would liked to have seen is the Reds simply give him one full year, now that he had the learning experience of last year under his belt – just to see what he could really do.

    If it didn’t pan out, fine, he didn’t cost them anything. BUT, if he is what I think he is…..I don’t know. We need the pitching, but Hobbs? We’ll see, but this one’s totally messing with me right now.

    This is not what I had in mind for Christmas, but at least they didn’t give up Bailey, Cueto, or Maloney. Trading pitching to get more pitching seems like beating a dead horse to me, and I don’t care if they’re unproven or not. Let’s try to do it the home-grown way for a change. I mean, my God, when was the last pitcher they groomed that was ever worth anything? Tom Browning? That’s ridiculous.

    So now that we have these four promising young arms, shouldn’t they just go for it with them? You gotta have hope that at least two of those guys will be productive this year.

    And Belisle can’t get any worse. Can he?

  32. For others, like me, who dislike this trade. Would you have been all right with it, if it would have been Hamilton and maybe a C level prospect for Volquez and Saltalamacchia? I think that would have been a very interesting trade.

  33. The best player to come out of the Kearns/Lopez trade is still in Single A. There’s a reason Daryl Thompson is on the Reds 40 man roster.

  34. “Hopper and Freel would barely make the team on a contender”

    Not sure what Hopper has ever done wrong, except hit .332, with a .379 OBP, steal some bases, and play solid defense. Oh, and he is right handed on a left handed heavy team and does not strike out very often.

    Good teams have balance. If you ask me, Hopper complements the corner outfielders pretty well.

  35. I also thought the Hammer was a freak of nature, and was weary about trading him….. But given EV’s rapsheet, he looks like Mario Soto Jr. with his 97 mph fastball and a plus change. And he has never had any problems with injuries.

    High risk/high reward

  36. he was a freak
    i liker hopper
    but he cant get it out of the infield im beginning to think i can hit it farther than him…

    Chris wells said one time

    “hopper drives a deep one to second base! that boy can drive it to all parts of the infield”

  37. Lefty look at Hoppers OPS…it’s weak. Guy can’t get the ball out of the infield. And Dusty is notorious for not bunting, so why have Hopper?

  38. For those worried about Bruce not being a sure thing. I can’t say Hamilton was a sure thing either. He crushed right handed pitching but had a .520 OPS against lefties. He was also never healthy enough to see if the league could adjust to him, and him re-adjust back.
    And then there’s the injuries.
    I agree with Dave, Hopper’s got a .370 OBP. If he can get on base like that I have no problem batting him leadoff.

  39. Hopper couldn’t get on base at that rate over his minor league career, what makes us think his 29 year old speed game is going to allow him to maintain that in the majors. Could happen, but the odds are against it.

  40. There’s a reason Daryl Thompson is on the Reds 40 man roster.

    Yeah, it’s because he’s been in the minors so long that he had to be put on the 40-man or exposed to the Rule V draft. I think a single-A pitcher like him would’ve been more likely to slip through the draft than a dominating AA reliever like Carlos Guevara.

    Bruce isn’t on the 40-man roster. Neither is Cueto. They haven’t been in the minors as long, and they’re already in AAA. Level & performance at level is more important than roster status, IMO.

  41. Thompson was 17 years old when he entered the majors. He’s been injured. He’s a couple months older than Cueto.

    You may be correct, Thompson may have been less likely to go than Guevara. But Krivsky was afraid to lose Thompson, not Guevara. So I guess it depends on whether you trust his scouting or not.

  42. Hamilton Hopper Freel. Now thats a major league outfield. Thats an outfield I’d pay to see play. Griffey? Not any more. Dunn? You got to be kidding. The Reds just traded the next Mantle for a minor league prospect.

  43. I have already purchased a Texas Rangers hat and a jersey, just gotta get hamilton stitched on the back and he won’t be 33 there because Millwood is 33. Can’t disown the reds though, I grew up with them.

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