12/21/07 9:45 PM ET
Reds reel in Volquez from Rangers
Cincinnati sends Hamilton to Texas for pair of pitchers
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
However, the Reds still have only two established Major Leaguers in the rotation in Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo. Krivsky didn't rule out adding a veteran arm. The club reportedly has been pursuing Orioles ace Erik Bedard, among others, but it has maintained silence on its intentions.By moving Hamilton after he spent just one season in Cincinnati, the Reds clearly bought low and sold high. Hamilton was claimed in the Rule 5 Draft by the Cubs from the Rays in December 2006 and dealt to the Reds in a prearranged trade. A former overall No. 1 Draft pick by Tampa Bay in 1999, Hamilton missed most of the 2003-06 seasons because of drugs, suspensions and injuries. The 26-year-old quickly became one of baseball's biggest feel good stories. Despite the rust of a nearly four-year layoff, he batted .292 with 19 home runs and 47 RBIs in 90 games and became the regular center fielder. Hamilton was the National League Rookie of the Month in April, but nagging injuries limited his production. He missed 58 games because of issues that included a stomach ailment, a sprained wrist and a strained hamstring. Krivsky said the club wasn't moving Hamilton because of durability questions. "When you haven't played for four years and never gone through a 162-game schedule, and as much as he played for us, you're bound to have a few more injuries than the next guy," Krivsky said. "It was a learning experience for him. He went through the grind for the first time in his career. If you told me he would put up the numbers that he did when we drafted him, I'd be thrilled." Hamilton, who was embraced by the community, said he was surprised by the trade. He was informed on Thursday and went to Texas on Friday to take a physical. "I think I was in the right place for coming back to baseball," Hamilton said. "Cincinnati welcomed me with open arms. Who would have ever thought that a city would pay attention to a guy that never played baseball before [and would give me such a nice reception] on Opening Day? I enjoyed playing there and spending time with the fans." Deep with outfielders, including top prospect Jay Bruce, the Reds also have Ryan Freel, Norris Hopper and Chris Dickerson who can play center field. Krivsky called the starting center field spot "open for competition." "We're trading from our position of depth in the organization," Krivsky said. "I think that allowed us to consider a guy like Hamilton. It was also what was coming back that was the important thing."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.