Of all the trades that were made during the baseball offseason, the swap of minor league prospect Edinson Volquez for former top draft pick Josh Hamilton was not considered a major swap on par with the trades of Miguel Tejada and Miguel Cabrera at the time.

But one quarter of the way into the season, it has emerged as perhaps the biggest trade in recent memory.

The league ERA leader was swapped for the league RBI leader.

How often has that happened?

Both players have far exceeded the most optimistic of expectations this season, and you will not find many souls in Arlington or Cincinnati who are upset with their new acquisitions.

Most people are calling the trade a win-win, and perhaps they are right.

Cincinnati, however, has won this trade just a little bit more than the Rangers to this point.

If Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels could get a do-over of the trade, he’d have to bring Volquez back to The Ballpark.

For years, the Rangers have struggled to put together an average starting rotation, and have seen high-dollar free agent acquisitions such as Chan Ho Park blow up in their face time and time again.

The only way to build a successful rotation these days is through the minor leagues.

Teams never let good young pitching hit the open market, and the pitching that does become available almost always has major question marks attached to it.

So far this season the Rangers have allowed the most runs in the majors, with 244 as of Monday, nine more than Pittsburgh, and have been outscored by 18 runs.

As great as Hamilton has been for the Rangers, he doesn’t contribute much to keeping the other team from scoring.

That is essential to any team’s success in the major leagues.

The old saying is that good pitching beats good hitting, not the other way around.

There are compelling arguments to be made that Hamilton is the better talent.

Volquez is putting up his ridiculous stats in the inferior National League and he has walked 30 batters in 54 1/3 innings, which is far too high a number for a top-of-the-rotation starter.

Most young pitchers struggle with control early in their career, and Volquez has been no exception to that rule.

However, he strikes out more than enough batters, 62 to be precise, to compensate for less-than-ideal control.

At only 24 years old, he has time to learn his craft and harness his electric stuff.

Hamilton is 26, and closer to his physical peak than Volquez.

While both Hamilton and Volquez have been fantastic in 2008, nobody expects either to maintain their incredibly high level of production.

Volquez has never pitched a full major league season, and Hamilton has never stayed healthy throughout an entire season, and his recent leg injury, though minor, does nothing to bury those concerns.

In this writer’s opinion, the argument for Volquez over Hamilton is primarily an economic one, based on the theory of supply and demand.

The demand for pitching will always be higher than the demand for hitting, and the supply of pitchers will always be weaker.



Jerrad Lindenmuth can be reached at 817-558-2855, ext. 2335

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