Hamilton Shipped from Reds to Rangers; Count Me Disappointed

The Reds and Rangers pulled off a trade: Josh Hamilton is headed to the Lone Star State. The Rangers are sending top pitching prospect Edinson Volquez and minor league hurler Danny Herrera to the Queen City.
Charlie has some comments detail on the pitchers in the deal. Baseball America has even more.
Rather than look at this from the perspective of the Reds and the Rangers, how about a look from the perspective of a Pirates fan on what this says about the Black and Gold. In early December when I read that Hamilton was on the block, I suggested the Buccos go after him. Not that I expect MOTO Huntington and Co. to look to me for advice, but shouldn’t they realize that center field has been something of a black hole since a certain Andy Van Slyke patrolled there over 10 years ago? Other than Matt Lawton’s half season in 2005 and the combination of Kenny Lofton and Tike Redman’s fluky August/September surge in 2003, the Pirates haven’t had much to speak of in the way of offense from centerfield this decade (except of course when Brian Giles was pressed into duty in CF).
In my opinion, the front office should be expected to recognize:
1. The needs of the team and
2. What players are available that can fill that need
For all I know, the Pirates were hot and heavy (like Elaine Benes) after Hamilton. But given the extensive coverage given to the Pirates quest for Chad Durbin in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the absence of like coverage of a quest for Hamilton suggests the Pirates showed no serious interest in him. The MLB Trade Rumors blog also turns up nothing that pairs the Pirates and Reds regarding Hamilton.
So where does that leave us. Either I’m deluded in thinking Hamilton is a good fit for this club – a good hitter that can play centerfield (not that he doesn’t have some question marks – see my previous post for thoughts on that) – or the front office is hung up on finding mediocre starters like Durbin and acquiring minor league relief pitchers, like the players received in exchange for Salomon Torres.
If it is the former, then I offer my apologies to Jermaine Allensworth, Tike Redman, Gary Matthews, Mike Kingery, Adrian Brown, Chad Hermansen and any other player who tried and failed to land the Pirates center field gig. You were better than I thought, apparently.
If it is the latter, then my hope that the new regime will pull the club out of the mire is starting to slowly wane.

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4 Responses to “Hamilton Shipped from Reds to Rangers; Count Me Disappointed”

  1. Deaner Says:

    I’m disappointed too. Hamilton would have been great for the Buccos. He’s a five-tool player and has fun playing the game and interacting with fans.

  2. Drew Says:

    Trading for Hamilton would have been a horrible move. We already have an outfielder who can’t stay healthy in Nady. Outfield is the only area where we have a little depth. Why would we trade for another one? Also, what exactly would we give the Reds for him? Texas gave up their top pitching prospect for Hamilton, which is way too much for a guy who hasn’t even played a full season. Our top prospect is a center fielder who has a lot of talent and costs the team nothing. So we would have depleted our system even more to acquire an unproven player we don’t need. We need pitching of any kind, a SS that can hit consistantly and a catcher that can do something other than suck. I think Huntington is on the right track so far.

  3. Randy Linville Says:

    Couple of points in response to Drew:
    Not saying that we should’ve traded for Hamilton, but that the Pirates should’ve at least shown interest in him. Perhaps the Reds asking price was too high, but I would’ve been willing to part with any of the following starters: Burnett, JVB, Morris or Duke plus any of the two relievers from the bevy of relievers the Pirates have.
    As far as Hamilton being unproven and prone to injury, I addressed that to some extent in my original post. My conclusion is that a player with his talent and drive is worth the risk.
    Finally, I don’t see OF as a place where the club has depth. Nady, as you pointed out, is also injury prone and has been at his best a league average performer. Bay dropped off a cliff offensively in the 2nd half. Let’s hope he recovers. CF, where Hamilton would play, has been a black hole and Andrew McCutchen likely isn’t ready to player everyday in the majors right to start 2008. With trade talks surrounding Bay and Nady, acquiring Hamilton – for the right price – makes sense. Hamilton would play CF in 2008. Whichever player was the better defensive CF between Hamilton and Cutch would play CF in 2009 and the other would move to a corner OF spot.
    As far as the other needs at SS, C and P, I can’t disagree with you. I’m convinced that Chad Durbin isn’t the answer at pitcher.

  4. Drew Says:

    Some good points.
    I honestly think are talent base isn’t as bad as our record. Tracy and his staff were made for a veteran team that has won, not our young team that hasn’t won yet. Depth is important, when you have it, you have options. If a player doesn’t produce you can make a move cause you have a guy wait for his chance to play in the biggs. That’s a good motivator and the Buccos can definitely use some motivation.
    There are only two players I think absolutely have to be moved this offseason. Wilson and Nady must go. Thier value will never be higher than it is right now. Wilson is usually a solid SS with little impact at the plate. Nady has some upside but I don’t think he’ll be able to stay healthy, so his production will be similar to last year which was decent but nothing to get really excited about. I’d try to package them for a top SS prospect that can hit. Bay needs to stay until he regains his form so we can trade him for his proper value. With Bay, Mclouth, Bautista(can play OF) McCutchen and Morgan we could have a respectable OF. At least the last two would give the team some speed on the bases. (If they can hit) I also think Walker will be ready to move into 3B in the spring.
    As far as Pitchers, I bet Morris does ok in the first half so they may be able to move him by mid summer. If Duke doesn’t learn how to pitch again then that will really hurt. He was so bad last year. I have no idea what they’ll do with Paulino. There has got to be a catcher out there who at least can play defense well.


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