Atlanta wasn’t able to land Ryan Dempster, but they still wanted a pitcher. So they continued talking to the Cubs and were able to make a deal for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson. The Braves sent Arodys Vizcaino, Jaye Chapman. Reportedly, the Braves also received cash in the deal.
Maholm has been a mediocre pitcher in his career, but his last two seasons were solid. Last year, with the
Pirates, Maholm had a 3.66 ERA. This year, he has a 3.74 ERA. He’s lowered his walk rate to its lowest point in his career and increased his strikeout rate to its highest point in his career. This has had a direct impact on his success with the Cubs this year.
For the Braves, the deal helps shore up their starting rotation. Their team ERA ranks 14th – about middle of the pack. They hope Maholm can help them improve there and keep them locked into the Wild Card spot or even challenge the Nationals for the Division.
Reed Johnson, is just a bonus in the deal. He will provide an extra bat off the bench for the Braves. Johnson is hitting .302/.355/.444 in 189 plate appearances this year. In his career, Johnson is a .284/.341/.414 hitter. He hasn’t been an everyday starter since 2006, but provides a huge boost from the bench and as a platoon guy. In fact, in his career Johnson is hitting .312 verse lefties compared with .276 verse righties.
The Braves’ prospects in the deal are highly touted. Vizcaino is a risky pick-up by the Cubs because he underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery this year, but he is considered to be one of the top prospects in the Braves organization. According to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, Vizcaino was the 4th best prospect in the organization – exactly the type of player Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein are trying to restock the Cubs’ farm system with. Jaye Chapman isn’t as highly-touted, but is likely more Major League ready. He has a 3.95 ERA in 242 career minor league games.
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