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Best player on each roster acquired via trade

July 21, 2018

We are less than two weeks from the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, which means some of the biggest names in baseball are about to be traded. It always seems strange to trade a star, doesn't it? It's so hard to get one of those guys in the first place;

We are less than two weeks from the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, which means some of the biggest names in baseball are about to be traded. It always seems strange to trade a star, doesn't it? It's so hard to get one of those guys in the first place; when you trade them, are you moving forward? Finances are finances, but stars are stars.  
This week at The Thirty, in honor of the Trade Deadline, we look at the best player on each current roster to have been acquired via trade. The team didn't draft him, or sign him as a free agent: They simply got him by convincing another team that what they were offering was better than the player being giving up. As you will see, that team was very frequently wrong.
Blue Jays
Josh Donaldson (acquired from Oakland for Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Franklin Barreto, November 2014)

The A's were already worried about Donaldson's free agency when they shipped off the budding AL MVP Award candidate, and Toronto has reaped the benefits ever since -- at least, until Donaldson finally becomes a free agent this offseason. Oakland probably could have used him, as it turned out.  
Adam Jones (acquired with George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Kam Mickolio and Tony Butler from Seattle for Erik Bedard, February 2008)

The headline a decade ago, amusingly, was: "Mariners trade five players for Bedard." That would be one way to put it! Bedard wasn't actually terrible for Seattle, but, c'mon, it's Jones.  

Chris Archer (acquired with Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos, Hak-Ju Lee and Samuel Fuld from the Chicago Cubs for Matt Garza, Fernando Perez and Zachary Rosscup, January 2011)

Garza would never pitch in a postseason game again; he'd leave the Cubs for the Rangers right before their postseason run would begin.  
Red Sox
Chris Sale (acquired from the Chicago White Sox for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz, December 2016)

Moncada is already in the Majors, and Kopech and Basabe are the White Sox's No. 2 and No. 13 prospects, respectively. But Sale started the All-Star Game.

Giancarlo Stanton (acquired from Miami for Starlin Castro, Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers, December 2017)

The first year has been slightly rocky for Stanton, but he has come around lately. Remember, of course, that he is signed through the 2027 season. (2027 is a very long time from now.)  
Corey Kluber (acquired from San Diego for Ryan Ludwick, July 2010)

This was a three-team trade, actually; Ludwick came from St. Louis, the Padres' "reward" for facilitating the Indians sending Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals. Hardly anyone noticed the prospect who went from San Diego to Cleveland in the deal.

Brad Keller (acquired from Cincinnati for cash or a player to be named, December 2017)

Keller has been by far the Royals' best pitcher this year, and they got him from the Reds, who had plucked him from the D-backs in the Rule 5 Draft, for essentially nothing. Kansas Ccity has a long way to go, but Keller's a start.
Jose Cabrera (acquired with Dontrelle Willis from Florida for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Mike Rabelo, Frankie De La Cruz, Dallas Trahern and Burke Badenhop, December 2007)

This trade is so old the prospects are old now.  
Eduardo Escobar (acquired with Pedro Hernandez from Chicago White Sox for Francisco Liriano, July 2012)

This trade was lambasted at the time; the general consensus was that the Twins didn't get nearly enough back. His ceiling was thought to be a "weak-hitting Omar Vizquel."  
White Sox
Yoan Moncada (acquired with Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz from Boston for Chris Sale, December 2016)

Yeah, he's probably already their best player.

Andrelton Simmons (acquired with Jose Briceno from Atlanta for Sean Newcomb, Erick Aybar, Chris Ellis and cash, November 2015)

Simmons is one of the 20 best players in the Majors, and better than he was in Atlanta by far. Newcomb hasn't been bad for the Braves this year, but he hasn't been as good as Simmons.  
Justin Verlander (acquired with Juan Ramirez from Detroit for Franklin Perez, Jake Rogers and Daz Cameron, August 2017)

Those prospects are currently Nos. 1, 6 and 10 in the Tigers' system, per MLB Pipeline; Perez just came back from a lat injury that cost him three months.

Jed Lowrie (acquired from Houston for Brendan McCurry, November 2015)

Lowrie is now an All-Star, not that the Astros still have anywhere they could put him.  
Mitch Haniger (acquired with Jean Segura and Zac Curtis from Arizona for Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte, November 2016)

The debate as to whether Haniger or Segura is the Mariners' best player -- that's the only real question left about this trade.

Cole Hamels (acquired with Jake Diekman from Philadelphia for Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff and Matt Harrison, July 2015)

The Rangers are about to trade Hamels again, and you can find a lot of those prospects they shipped over on the National League East-leading Phillies three years later.  
Ender Inciarte (acquired with Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair from Arizona for Shelby Miller and Gabe Speier, December 2015)

It still hurts the soul to even look at this trade.

Kyle Barraclough (acquired from St. Louis for Steve Cishek, July 2015)

The Cardinals sure would love to have Barraclough right about now.  
Noah Syndergaard (acquired with Travis d'Arnaud, John Buck and Wuilmer Becerra from Toronto for R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, December 2012)

This one looked shaky for the Jays the day they made it, and it only got worse.

Trea Turner (acquired from San Diego, June 2015)

This was a complicated trade because it was a three-way trade and because Turner was a player to be named later who was finally named six months later. This trade remains a headache to figure out three years later, but rest assured, the Nationals are not complaining.  
Zach Eflin (acquired with Tom Windle from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jimmy Rollins and cash, December 2014)

Eflin has quietly been fantastic for the Phillies this year, though he's currently on the DL with a blister issue.  
Christian Yelich (acquired from Miami for Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, Isan Diaz and Jordan Yamamoto, January 2018)

The Marlins were awfully helpful this offseason, weren't they?

Jedd Gyorko (acquired from San Diego for Jonathan Jay, December 2015)

Gyorko is having a better year so far than fellow Cardinals trade acquisition Marcell Ozuna... which is not what the Cards had in mind.  
Anthony Rizzo (acquired with Zach Cates from San Diego for Andrew Cashner and Kyung-Min Na, January 2012)

The Padres show up a lot here, don't they?  
Felipe Vazquez (acquired with Taylor Hearn from Washington for Mark Melancon, July 2016)

Suffice it to say, Vazquez/Rivero would have come in handy the last couple of postseasons.

Eugenio Suarez (acquired with Jonathon Crawford from Detroit for Alfredo Simon, December 2014)

The Reds are quietly better than you think, and getting an All-Star for Alfredo Simon (who was back in Cincinnati a year later and out of baseball shortly after that) is a good reason why.  
Patrick Corbin (acquired with Rafael Rodriguez, Joe Saunders and Tyler Skaggs from the Los Angeles Angels for Dan Haren, July 2010)

If the trade involved being funny on Twitter, it might have been more even.
Yasmani Grandal (acquired from San Diego with Zach Eflin and Joe Wieland for Matt Kemp, Tim Federowicz and cash, December 2014)

We're not counting, you know, Manny Machado, so we'll go with Grandal, who is now, of course, teammates with the guy he was traded for.
Andrew McCutchen (acquired from Pittsburgh for Bryan Reynolds, Kyle Crick and international bonus slot money, January 2018)

McCutchen has been perfectly fine, but this trade still might not work out.

William Myers (acquired from Tampa Bay in a three-way trade that is seriously so confusing, December 2014)

See Turner, above.  
DJ LeMahieu (acquired with Tyler Colvin from the Chicago Cubs for Casey Weathers and Ian Stewart, December 2011)

He might get traded at this Deadline, too. Probably not to the Cubs, though.

Will Leitch is a columnist for