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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Reds trade Hamilton for Volquez & Herrera -- Initial Impressions

Checking in from Cincinnati on my mom's computer, and just saw the trade.

Initial thoughts:

First, Hamilton's going to hit the crap out of the ball in Texas.

As for the Reds' return on him, Volquez looks like a pretty exciting arm. Granted, he's got control issues, but I'm sure Krivsky et al. think they can fix that. But here we have a guy who's already pitched a few innings in the big leagues, just turning 25, and can throw the ball a million miles an hour. He's the sort of guy who could step in and over the next year or two become a dominant starter. Sure, he might not. But this kind of pitcher is exactly the sort of pitcher that smart ballclubs go after. Between he, Bailey, and Cueto, you have to think that at least one of them will pan out to be a quality guy. And it's not unreasonable to hope that two of them will. That, plus another modest splash from someone like Maloney, Wood, Watsin, or whoever, and the Reds have a great shot at a very, very good young rotation in the coming years.

Herrera is kind of a surprise to me, because Doug's reports indicate that he's pretty small and throws a trick pitch (screwball/change). ... Sounds like Guevara (the guy we lost in the Rule 5 draft), and that's the sort of pitcher that Krivsky doesn't seem to value much. But hey, he's another warm body, and I'm never against the Reds acquiring young pitchers with good performance histories.

Anyway, I'll take a closer look at these guys when I get back. But my initial impressions are that this is a pretty reasonable trade--Hamilton's an outstanding talent, and the safe guess (given that he's a position player) is that he'll outperform both of the Reds' new pitchers. But at the same time, he's not without substantial risk (injury and drug abuse histories), and the Reds are getting a young pitcher with good upside who is probably major league ready. Oh, and another pitcher with good minor league numbers. This addresses a need of the Reds, they're dealing from a position at which they have depth, and it has the potential for a great payoff. So initially, as much as I hate to lose Hamilton--especially a year before Griffey and Dunn may walk--I pretty positive about this trade.


  1. It obviously takes 2 to tango. I really would have hoped they would have traded Votto and Hattie instead. Then Dunn could move to 1st. That would have made room in the OF. I was really excited to see what Hamilton was going to do this year; and he seemed to be happy in Cincy. I'll change my tune if Bruce hits .290 and 25 HRs, and Volquez throws 3.50 and 225 Ks.

  2. I really like this move, but one thing is for sure..... This move takes huge balls on both sides. You have to love it when teams swap guys with the upside of these two. I'll take a MLB ready pitcher with a high ceiling over 5-tool OF anyday.

  3. Dave,

    I would normally agree with you if the Reds have ever shown the ability to develop pitching. Unfortunately, they never have.

  4. Scott,

    If the Reds can't develop pitching, quite frankly they're never going to win anyway. So they might as well go for it and assume they can get Volquez to work out. I'm choosing to feel confident in the Reds' scouting and player development at this point--they do have one of the strongest minor systems in baseball, and it just got stronger witht his deal.

  5. Justin,

    I was surfing through your archives and found an article from May 22nd evaluating Krivsky. Great article, have you considered doing this on a regular basis?? VORP looks like a great objective evaluation tool of GMs.

  6. Hi Dave,

    Thanks, glad you liked it.

    As far as continuing it...we'll see. VORP really isn't the best tool, as it ignores fielding, but it's a start. Without going through and estimating my own linear weights on everyone, win shares is probably the best approach...but I'm not crazy about win shares either. WARP's another alternative, but it's probably even worse.

    The other problem with that study is the lack of context. Several commenters mentioned--and I agree--that most GM's probably have a positive balance. So we'd need to see just how high a typical GM's balance tends to be per unit time period to get a good idea of how well they did.

    But anyway, it's an idea for the future. :)

  7. The Reds came out on top of the Dodger Sims NL Central Winter Rankings. The simulator was used using 2008 ZIPS projections as input data.
    vr, Xei

  8. Those projections are ridiculous...there is no way the Cubs finish in the basement of the league. No way

  9. Dave, they are not final standings projections. Read the fine print. :) After rosters are more finalized and all teams have their ZIPS projections out I will run a similiar sim with a much larger sample size. A ten game head to head sample size will give you a few flukey results. Last year the final pre-season sim had the Red Sox winning the W.S. over the Cubs.
    vr, Xei