The Rangers, needing a center fielder and an impact bat, killed two birds with one stone today by trading with the Reds for OF Josh Hamilton (84/88). In return the Reds received SP Edinson Volquez (70/86) and RP Danny Herrera (59/82). By now, Hamilton's story is well-known, from his free-fall into drug abuse to his subsequent resurrection that is a storybook tale of heartwarming perseverance.
Rather quietly, the Rangers and Reds have both had productive off-seasons. Between signing Milton Bradley (69, though with no injury factor 89) and trading for Hamilton, Texas has upgraded their offense significantly. The return of 3B Hank Blalock (85/88, though I think this rating is a little high) from injuries should make a big difference as well. The Rangers still have a weak starting rotation, and they will feel the loss of Volquez. However, when a team nearly loses 100 games they tend to have many holes, and filling all of them in one off-season is highly unlikely. At this point, starting pitching is the Rangers' one glaring weakness. It is a major weakness to have, but they are down to only one weakness, and they at least have some young starters.
As for the Reds, they clearly needed to upgrade their pitching. They started by shelling out a ton of money for Francisco Cordero (89), coincidentally a former Ranger, and he is a massive upgrade to their bullpen. At 32 years old I doubt the monster contract he got will look good by the end, but for now he is a major improvement. Now, with this trade, the Reds have added a young starter that upgrades them immediately and should develop into a number two punch behind underrated staff ace Aaron Harang (89). Furthermore, Herrera is not ready right now, but he looks like a pretty decent southpaw that could be ready to contribute in their bullpen as early as mid-2008.
This trade makes sense for both sides, especially the Reds. The Rangers further weakened a weakness by trading Volquez, but they also addressed a glaring hole by adding Hamilton. The Reds had a surplus of outfielders, so it made sense to use that to gain a starter, especially one as young and promising as Volquez. Ultimately, both teams should be pleased with the deal.