Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hamilton Acquired

This week I’ll analyze three recent Rangers moves.

Transaction 1:

On December 21st, the Rangers traded pitchers Edinson Volquez and Danny Herrera to the Reds for outfielder Josh Hamilton.

Josh Hamilton – Hamilton is a RANGER!!!! Yeah!!!! After some serious off-the-field issues limiting him to 15 games from 2003 to 2006, he came back last year with a good year with the Reds. In 2003, Josh left the Devil Rays in Spring Training, and only came back twice to work out with the minor league teams. In 2004, MLB suspended Hamilton for 30 days for multiple drug violations. Later on, they changed it to a year for two more violations in just those 30 days. In 2005, Hamilton was DFA’d and passed through waivers. He had been drinking, taking illegal drugs and had three suicide attempts. In 2006, he injured his left knee, and the D’Rays let him go to the Rule 5 draft, where the Reds ended up acquiring him. Last year Hamilton batted .292 with 19 homers and 47 RBI in 298 at-bats. Hamilton has a real chance at becoming a top 3 center fielder in baseball in the next few years. Plus, he has 5 years left where the Rangers will control him. This is a fantastic addition to the Rangers organization. Josh should be our center fielder for years to come.

Edinson Volquez – Edinson can become a great pitcher or be the next Ruben Mateo. His major league ERA is over 7.00, but was 4.50 last year. He’s got incredible potential, though. Last year he worked his way up from High-A to the majors. As he went up in the minor leagues his ERA’s went down going in order, 7.13 (high-A), 3.55 (AA), and 1.41 (AAA). He’s probably going to start off next year as a number 4 or 5 starter.

Danny Ray Herrera – He was drafted in the 45th round. In his two years in the minor leagues, Herrera has an 11-5 record and a 2.65. He may end up being a solid piece of a major league bullpen someday.

Evaluation:It’s tough to give up Volquez, but we needed a center fielder badly. Also, we have more depth with minor league pitchers (Blake Beavan, Fabio Castillo, Thomas Diamond, Armando Galarraga, Matt Harrison, Eric Hurley, Kasey Kiker, Luis Mendoza, A.J. Murray, Josh Rupe) than center fielders (Julio Borbon, Engel Beltre, John Mayberry Jr.). I think that this is a pretty good deal for the Rangers.
Grade: A

Transaction 2:

On December 12th, the Rangers traded minor league infielder Tug Hulett to the Mariners for first baseman Ben Broussard.

Evaluation:
The best Tug Hulett was ever going to be for the Rangers was a utility player. The Rangers really needed a first baseman for this year and Broussard can be that guy. Last year in the majors he batted .275 with 7 home runs and 29 RBI’s in 240 at-bats with the Indians. Tug Hulett hit .275 with 11 homers and 67 RBI’s for triple-A Oklahoma. I think that this is a very good trade, filling a major league need without giving up a high prospect.
Grade: A

Transaction 3:

On December 13th, the Rangers signed Japanese RHP Kazuo Fukumori to a two-year deal. Last year, with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, Kazuo had an ERA of 4.75 with a 4-2 ERA, 17 saves, and 33 strike-outs in 36 innings pitched. Last year, Fukumori was the highest paid player on the team. He didn’t do that well last year, but I think he will do pretty well, given his 2.17 ERA in 2006.

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think is the best player in the Rangers' moves the past 2 weeks?
Milton Bradley – 72%
Kazuo Fukumori – 8%
Ben Broussard – 6%
Francisco Cordova – 4%
Chris Shelton – 4%
Edgardo Alfonzo – 1%
Levi Romero – 1%
Tug Hulett – 1%
Clayton Hamilton – 1%
All others – 0%

Record amount of votes – 75 - Thanks!!!

Come back next week for an analysis of December MLB Transactions.

2 comments:

Ken Pittman said...

Grant-

When I first looked at the trade, I didn't like it. The Rangers have a hard time signing quality pitching and I hate to see former Rangers pitching prospects doing well somewhere else (esp. Chris Young). However, the more I look at this trade, the more I like it. Hamilton has the potential to be the CF that we need and I think we've got other pitchers that can currently pitch at the level Volquez would have been expected to this year. It's almost never a bad idea to get a proven good player that isn't very old in exchange for one or two players with potential. 7 or 8 times out of 10 you win those type trades (although the losses in those can hurt pretty bad).

As for the Broussard trade, I wish the Rangers could have found someone better for 1B. However, it was a fairly low risk, good potential trade. So I definitely see why the trade was made.

The Fukumori signing looks solid as the contract is flexible so that we benefit if he works out and our losses aren't too bad if he doesn't.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a great 2008.

grantlovesbaseball said...

Hi Ken,

The first thought I had of the trade was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm a Reds fan so I know a little about what Josh did last year. I think it's worth the risk to get a player with that kind of talent.

I agree that first base is still an issue, though.

Grant