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.