On December 21, 2007, the Texas Rangers shipped top pitching prospect Edinson Volquez and pitcher Danny Herrera to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Josh Hamilton.
The deal made little splash at the time, as other trades dominated the headlines, such as the Johan Santana trade and the Dontrelle Willis/Miguel Cabrera deal.
Hamilton, a former drug-addict, was coming off a season in which he exceeded expectations for the Reds after returning to baseball after a four year absence, batting .292 and slugging 19 HR's.
Volquez was the prized jewel of the Rangers farm system, and a top prospect.
In his first three seasons with Rangers, he compiled just 79 innings, averaging an awful 8.60 ERA and only three wins.
Still, he was young, and raw with talent, and possessed sky-high potential.
Due to the Reds plethora of outfielders, Hamilton was expendable and drew the Rangers interest.
The Reds, desperate for pitching, commanded that Volquez be apart of the deal that sent a rejuvenated Hamilton to Texas.
Hamilton and Volquez have played like All-Stars this year, fulfilling their unlimited potential and finally breaking through.
Hamilton leads the AL with 19 HR, and is tops in the Majors in RBI with 76, while hitting a solid .312.
He has bolstered a potent Rangers offense and has led them to a winning record so far.
On the other hand, Volquez has been superb, with a 10-2 record while pitching in a hitters ballpark. He leads the League with a 1.71 ERA and 110 Strikeouts.
This trade has turned out well for both teams as both players have been playing above expectations and producing quality numbers.
But a question still remains: Who got the better end of the deal?
In my own opinion, I will go with the Texas Rangers.
Josh Hamilton plays everyday and is always an offensive threat at the plate. He has ended up being a bargain for the Rangers by establishing himself as the one of the League's top players this year.
Don't get me wrong. Volquez is a fantastic pitcher who is only 25 and has a long career ahead of him.
But when you look at the difference Hamilton has made in Texas, he is the main reason why they are hanging around in the playoff chase. An offensive catalyst like Hamilton can spark a team to great success.
Meanwhile, the Reds are bringing up the rear in a competitive NL Central Division.
Volquez has given the Reds a chance to win every time he takes the mound.
But that's the problem. He can only pitch every fifth day for the cellar-dwelling Reds.
He has been effective nonetheless, as the Reds are 12-4 when he starts.
Keep in mind, we have only reached the halfway point of the season, and the Reds will come around sooner or later.
There is still plenty of baseball left to be played and many more opportunities for Hamilton and Volquez to prove themselves.
The bottom line is, neither team is regretting this trade as it has worked out for both sides.
While I favor the Rangers in this deal, only time will tell which side got the better end of this truly exceptional acquisition.
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