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Taking a closer look at the most traded list

By Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com

Justin Verlander thinks about why he's been traded in so many Fantasy leagues. (USATSI)
Justin Verlander thinks about why he's been traded in so many Fantasy leagues. (USATSI)

Jeff Samardzija is the most traded player in Fantasy league on CBSSports.com. You already knew that, of course, because R.J. White laid it out in a recent blog post. The most traded list is, perhaps surprisingly, riddled with big-name players. With the Fantasy trade deadline approaching rapidly, it might be worth it to look at why these players are being dealt, and why owners might be interested in acquiring them. R.J. already looked at Samardzija, so we'll focus on the next couple of players. Let's do it.

Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers (Traded 515 times in the last two weeks)

Why is he being traded: Verlander's numbers have taken a turn for the worst this season. His ERA has ballooned to 4.84, and his strikeout rate has tumbled to under 20 percent for the first time since 2008. Owners are likely looking to jump ship in case things remain bad for Verlander.

Why is he being acquired: It's tough to give up on a player with Verlander's talent. Owners acquiring him are doing so hoping for a nice second half bounce-back. Verlander did have a strong stretch toward the end of 2013, so there might be some hope he can do it again. He's certainly a buy-low at this point, so maybe owners can deal a spare part for a player who could still be elite.

Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies (Traded 510 times in the last two weeks)

Why is he being traded: Injuries. Gonzalez has played in just 59 games this season due to various injuries. On top of that, his performance hasn't been great. In 242 at-bats, he's hitting .250/.302/.442. Gonzalez was a high draft pick, so it's not a shock to see frustrated owners try to sell him.

Why is he being acquired: Gonzalez remains a top Fantasy player when healthy, and could push middle-of-the-pack teams to the top of their league if he performs. There's plenty of risk here, but a healthy CarGo probably wins leagues for some teams.

Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals (Traded 493 times in the last two weeks)

Why is he being traded: Here's another player who has dealt with injuries this season. It seems that owners are either frustrated that Harper missed so much time, or have been able to get by without Harper for so long that he's now expendable. Harper also got off to a slow start once he returned, which may have caused owners to panic.

Why is he being acquired: Harper can be a top-10 outfielder when healthy. While he's had his fair share of struggles this season, he's still one of the most talented players in the league. He's talked about having some timing issues at the plate most of the year, but just introduced a new batting stance. Could that change spur a hot streak?

Gio Gonzalez, SP, Nationals (Traded 475 times in the last two weeks)

Why is he being traded: I'm not quite sure, actually. Gonzalez has dealt with injuries this season, and is coming off his shortest start of the season, but his numbers are still solid. He may just be one of those pitchers owners can part with without feeling like they gave up elite talent.

Why is he being acquired: The numbers are there, and the track record says he'll be solid down the stretch. He's not elite, but he's pretty darn good, and some owners might be more willing to part with the type of guy it takes to acquire Gonzalez as opposed to giving up a stud for a better pitcher.

Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers (Traded 456 times in the last two weeks)

Why is he being traded: This is another one that leaves me perplexed. Darvish is an elite starter, and he's putting up exceptional numbers. He doesn't play for a great team, and won't win 20 games, but that seems like a silly reason to part with him.

Why is he being acquired: Because he's freaking Yu Darvish!

Cliff Lee, SP, Phillies (Traded 453 times in the last two weeks)

Why is he being traded: Here's another guy who has dealt with injuries this season. Are you sensing a theme yet? This one actually makes sense, though. Lee's been hurt, and didn't perform well in his first start back. He's 35-years-old, so there's probably some thought that he's in decline.

Why is he being acquired: Despite his age, there's still a strong track record of success. On top of that, smart owners aren't going to overreact to one bad start. Lee could also get traded to a contender (though that doesn't seem likely), which would boost his value. Prior to the injury, his numbers were solid.

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