Yesterday Texas slugger Josh Hamilton and Cincinnati pitcher Edinson Volquez both went on the disabled list. While this may appear to be a seemingly innocuous pairing of players, what is truly interesting is the fact that since the two were traded for each other, their careers have followed a staggeringly similar trajectory, right down to the timing of their injuries.
Following the 2007 season, the Reds sent resurgent slugger Josh Hamilton to the Rangers for Edinson Volquez. For Cincinnati it seemed a classic buy low-sell high deal. Hamilton had overcome a well-documented struggle with drug addiction to hit .292 with 19 home runs and 47 RBI in 90 games in 2007. There was no guarantee that Hamilton would duplicate such numbers after finally cashing in on his athletic potential, nor was it a certainty that Hamilton would handle success better the second time around.
With this in mind, the Reds sent Hamilton to Texas in exchange for the right-handed Volquez. In 2007, the then-24-year-old Volquez was a September call-up and went 2-1 in six starts with a 4.50 ERA and projected to be a legitimate starter.
So with both players coming off of promising seasons, a deal was made and 2008 brought success to both players.
In 2008 Hamilton became a star, hitting .304 with 32 homers and 130 RBI and he even put on a historic display of power in last summer's Home Run Derby. Hamilton was the talk of the baseball world for his accomplishments both on and off the field.
More quietly, Volquez went 17-6 in Cincinnati with a 3.21 ERA while averaging 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Volquez, along with fellow young right-hander Johnny Cueto gave Reds fans a reason to think the pitching staff might be able to turn things around in the 'Nati.
Both Hamilton and Volquez ended up on their respective league's All Star teams and both were in consideration for postseason hardware - Hamilton finished seventh in the AL MVP voting while Volquez was voted fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year race.
The 2008 season made it seem like the Reds and Rangers participated in the rare equally- beneficial trade but 2009 has brought injuries and a bit of a fall to earth.
Hamilton could be sidelined as long as two months with a groin injury while Volquez has tendinitis in his pitching elbow, an injury that occurred in the first inning of Volquez's return to the mound following a stint on the DL for back spasms.
Obviously we hope for the best for both players but we at least know they've got each other.
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