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Saturday, December 17, 2011
Former Ranger Volquez part of Latos trade

By Richard Durrett

The San Diego Padres traded pitcher Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday for four players, including starter and former Ranger Edinson Volquez. Read more about the trade here.

I mention this because, as Rangers fans remember, Volquez was the centerpiece of the trade that brought Josh Hamilton to Texas on Dec. 21, 2007. Texas also traded LHP Danny Ray Herrera in that deal. It was not an easy trade for the Rangers' front office to make. At the time, the club didn't have many top-flight pitching prospects and Volquez certainly was one of those. But many Texas scouts felt that Hamilton was a special player who could do it all in the field and at the plate. Clearly, we've seen they were right.

Volquez made 32 starts that first season in a Reds uniform and had a 17-6 mark with a 3.21 ERA. But he hasn't been able to duplicate any season close to that since. Injuries have hampered his ability to increase his work load as he threw just 49 2/3 innings in nine starts in 2009 (back spasms and then elbow surgery), 62 2/3 innings in 2010 (recovering from the surgery) and 108 2/3 innings in 2011. He struggled, posting a 5.71 ERA and a 5-7 record. Perhaps a change of scenery will help.

The trade, which also included infielder Yonder Alonso and catcher Yasmani Grandal (two of the Reds' top prospects) plus minor league reliever Brad Boxberger, means the market for Gio Gonzalez, Matt Garza, John Danks, Wade Davis and others probably just got better for the GMs of those teams. We should know even more about those markets once the Yu Darvish dusts settles (the winning team in the bidding will be revealed before or around the 4 p.m. Tuesday deadline).