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MLB Top 10s: Best of the traded -- Brewers' Gomez, Cards' Wainwright

by | Baseball Writer
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Twice-dealt Carlos Gomez didn't deliver on his potential until he settled into the Brewers outfield. (USATSI)
Twice-dealt Carlos Gomez didn't deliver on his potential until he settled into the Brewers outfield. (USATSI)

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In the Eye On Baseball Top 10, here's what we do: rank players according to criteria. Those criteria change depending upon week and whim, but the Top 10 will always be informed by some angle or another, painfully contrived or otherwise.

And that brings us to this week's guiding query: Who are best current players who've been traded at some point in their careers?

As you're no doubt aware, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, and that means we have trades foremost in our coconuts. So since we're on that topic, why not concoct a related hook for this week's EOB top 10? Why not indeed!

We list these players with no regard for their pre-2014 histories and no regard for whether or not these performances are sustainable. This is about performance in 2014 to date and nothing else. As for position players, defense and base-running are very much part of the calculus.

Omissions? Believe it or not, Adrian Beltre has never been traded, so he's not eligible. Ditto Mike Trout, Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Andrew McCutchen, Troy Tulowitzki ... and others.

So let us now recite baseball names for the dual purposes of SEO and making you angry. Feel free to brandish your incorrect opinions and make idle threats in the comments section.

Weapons-grade complaints and spleen-venting? By all means, reach out to the author at hotmail@hotmail.jpg.

Batters
1. Carlos Gomez, CF - Milwaukee Brewers
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 7
Adam Wainwright Gomez has actually been traded twice: first from the Mets to the Twins and then from the Twins to the Brewers. This season, he's raking (139 OPS+), running the bases with aplomb and providing Gold Glove-caliber defense in center.
Key Stats: 365 AB, 14 HR, .304 AVG, 50 RBI, 60 R, 18 SB
2. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B - Toronto Blue Jays
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 1
Mark Buehrle Encarnacion's been one of baseball's most consistent power threats the past three seasons. Surprising, then, he bounced around so much early in his career. He was traded twice, claimed off waivers once and non-tendered once. He's on his second stint with the Blue Jays. Encarnacion will slide down this list the longer he stays on the DL, but right now his line of .277/.368/.591 in 88 games is enough for the second spot.
Key Stats: 328 AB, 26 HR, .277 AVG, 70 RBI, 57 R, 2 SB
3. Victor Martinez, DH - Detroit Tigers
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 2
Corey Kluber V-Mart is presently batting a robust .322/.382/.584 with 41 extra-base hits in 84 games. He's also a modern-day rarity in that he has more walks than strikeouts this season. Back in 2009, Martinez was dealt by the Indians to the Red Sox for, primarily, Justin Masterson.
Key Stats: 320 AB, 21 HR, .322 AVG, 56 RBI, 47 R, 2 SB
4. Michael Brantley, LF - Cleveland Indians
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 37
Max Scherzer Brantley's gone from "useful" in recent seasons to "deserving All-Star" in 2014. This year, he's batting .326/.386/.519 (155 OPS+), and he's stolen 11 bags in 12 attempts. For our purposes, it's worth noting the Indians landed Brantley as part of their haul for sending CC Sabathia to the Brewers in 2008.
Key Stats: 369 AB, 15 HR, .328 AVG, 63 RBI, 67 R, 11 SB
5. Miguel Cabrera, 1B - Detroit Tigers
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 1
Tim Hudson Cabrera is a net negative on the bases and in the field, but the bat more than makes up for it: .311/.366/.532 and on pace for 61 doubles (!). It was a seven-player deal in December of 2007 that brought him to Detroit. Sorry, Marlins: He'll go into the Hall of Fame as a Tiger.
Key Stats: 363 AB, 14 HR, .311 AVG, 76 RBI, 58 R, 1 SB
6. Jose Bautista, RF - Toronto Blue Jays
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 4
Jake Arrieta Bautista's been slumping a bit lately, but his overall production remains very strong: .286/.405/.491 with 17 homers and 65 walks against 62 strikeouts. Because Bautista was such a late-developing talent, he's been traded three times, sold once, lost on waivers once and left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft on another occasion. The best revenge is persistence.
Key Stats: 332 AB, 17 HR, .286 AVG, 54 RBI, 60 R, 4 SB
7. Josh Donaldson, 3B - Oakland Athletics
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 3
Zack Greinke Donaldson, whom the A's acquired from the Cubs in July of 2008, didn't come into his own until his outstanding 2013 campaign. Now, he's one of the best in baseball when it comes to combining power potential with top-shelf defense.
Key Stats: 377 AB, 21 HR, .241 AVG, 70 RBI, 65 R, 3 SB
8. Nelson Cruz, DH - Baltimore Orioles
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 8
Scott Kazmir Despite being a free agent afterthought this past winter, Cruz is slugging .550 and on pace for 46 homers. Early in his career, the Mets, A's and Brewers each traded away Cruz. Since 2009, he's hit 163 homers.
Key Stats: 373 AB, 28 HR, .279 AVG, 74 RBI, 57 R, 3 SB
9. Anthony Rizzo, 1B - Chicago Cubs
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 10
Jeff Samardzija The Cubs' All-Star first baseman was on his third organization before his 23rd birthday (the Red Sox and Padres dealt him). Rizzo's bat has always been well-regarded, and 2014 is shaping up to be a breakout year: .281/.384/.522 (147 OPS+) with an NL-leading 23 homers and also 46 unintentional walks.
Key Stats: 356 AB, 23 HR, .281 AVG, 53 RBI, 65 R, 2 SB
10. Hunter Pence, RF - San Francisco Giants
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 14
Josh Beckett Pence, who's production far outstrips his aesthetics, was traded first by the Astros to the Phillies and then by the Phillies to the Giants, where he still resides. This season, Pence leads the NL with 100 games played, and he's batting a nifty .303/.360/.474 despite playing his home games in hitter-unfriendly AT&T Park.
Key Stats: 399 AB, 12 HR, .303 AVG, 37 RBI, 71 R, 9 SB
Pitchers
1. Adam Wainwright, SP - St. Louis Cardinals
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 5
Adam Wainwright Wainwright for J.D. Drew! Other pieces were involved and Drew was outstanding in his lone season in Atlanta, but one imagines the Braves would like a do-over. Wainwright is likely the NL frontrunner for the NL Cy Young at the moment, and he's easily the best hurler on this list.
Key Stats: 138.0 IP, 12-4 W-L, 0 SV, 1.83 ERA, 115 Ks, 27 BB
2. Mark Buehrle, SP - Toronto Blue Jays
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 95
Mark Buehrle Buehrle of course was part of the blockbuster that the Marlins and Blue Jays pulled off in November of 2012. In this, his age-35 campaign, he's enjoying what be a career year: 132 1/3 innings, 143 ERA+, quality start percentage of 70.
Key Stats: 132.1 IP, 10-6 W-L, 0 SV, 2.86 ERA, 78 Ks, 35 BB
3. Corey Kluber, SP - Cleveland Indians
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 23
Corey Kluber Kluber this season has worked 140 1/3 innings (3rd in the AL) while maintaining a sub-3.00 ERA and K/BB ratio of 4.61 (6th in the AL). That's ace stuff. Let it be noted that Kluber came to the Tribe as part of a three-way deal at the 2010 non-waiver deadline that landed Jake Westbrook in St. Louis and Ryan Ludwick in San Diego.
Key Stats: 140.1 IP, 10-6 W-L, 0 SV, 2.95 ERA, 152 Ks, 33 BB
4. Max Scherzer, SP - Detroit Tigers
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 3
Max Scherzer The reigning AL Cy Young winner is turning in another fine season: 132 IP, 123 ERA+, no unearned runs allowed, 150 strikeouts. Lest we forget, Scherzer, formerly of the Diamondbacks, was part of the December 2009 three-way swap among the D-backs, Yankees and Tigers that also involved Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy.
Key Stats: 132.0 IP, 11-3 W-L, 0 SV, 3.34 ERA, 150 Ks, 39 BB
5. Tim Hudson, SP - San Francisco Giants
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 53
Tim Hudson Suffice to say, the 2004 deal that sent Huddy from the Athletics to the Braves for Juan Cruz, Dan Meyer and Charles Thomas is not fondly remembered in Oakland. As for Hudson, he's 39 and still pitching at a high level. This season, he's worked 126 1/3 innings, logged an ERA of 2.78 and recorded almost 2.5 times as many groundballs as fly balls.
Key Stats: 126.1 IP, 8-6 W-L, 0 SV, 2.78 ERA, 81 Ks, 19 BB
6. Jake Arrieta, SP - Chicago Cubs
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 18
Jake Arrieta The Cubs acquired Arrieta from the Orioles last July as part of the Scott Feldman deal, and it's paid off nicely. An injury delayed the start of his season, but since getting healthy Arrieta has logged an ERA of 2.12 after 14 starts and a K/BB ratio of 3.72. The 28-year-old could be the rotation cornerstone of the rebuilding Cubs.
Key Stats: 85.0 IP, 5-2 W-L, 0 SV, 2.12 ERA, 93 Ks, 25 BB
7. Zack Greinke, SP - Los Angeles Dodgers
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 15
Zack Greinke Greinke's been dealt twice, first from the Royals to the Brewers and then from the Brewers to the Angels. Each time for current starting shortstops! (That would be Alcides Escobar and Jean Segura.) Anyhow, Greinke is again turning in a fine campaign, as he's pitched to a 2.90 ERA and posted a career-best 4.81 K/BB ratio.
Key Stats: 124.1 IP, 11-6 W-L, 0 SV, 2.9 ERA, 130 Ks, 27 BB
8. Scott Kazmir, SP - Oakland Athletics
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 20
Scott Kazmir Kazmir's ongoing comeback is a remarkable story, but let's not forget he was part of a highly lopsided deal between the Mets and Rays. The Mets infamously sent Kazmir to Tampa Bay in exchange for, chiefly, Victor Zambrano. In the here and now, Kazmir is pitching like an ace for the A's: 2.38 ERA, 159 ERA+, 4.00 K/BB ratio 117 1/3 IP.
Key Stats: 117.1 IP, 11-3 W-L, 0 SV, 2.38 ERA, 108 Ks, 27 BB
9. Jeff Samardzija, SP - Oakland Athletics
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 24
Jeff Samardzija Thanks to the Cubs-A's blockbuster earlier this month, Samardzija is indeed eligible for this list. His combined numbers this year tell the story of his emergence: 2.91 ERA, 3.55 K/BB ratio, 130 innings.
Key Stats: 130.0 IP, 3-8 W-L, 0 SV, 2.91 ERA, 117 Ks, 33 BB
10. Josh Beckett, SP - Los Angeles Dodgers
Fantasy Ranking by Position: 50
Josh Beckett Beckett's unlikely late-career renaissance involves not only his no-hitter against the Phillies, but also boasting a 2.26 ERA after 17 starts. As for the trades, he was part of deal that landed the Marlins Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez, and then he was part of the "post-chicken and beer" trade out of Boston.
Key Stats: 103.2 IP, 6-5 W-L, 0 SV, 2.26 ERA, 95 Ks, 32 BB
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