For a team that looked to be extremely active at the deadline, only one trade was made, a trade that as of now, is not one of the larger ones for today. The Cubs have traded super utility man Emilio Bonifacio and left-handed reliever James Russell to Atlanta in exchange for Braves’ catching prospect Victor Caratini, currently ranked as Atlanta’s 7th best prospect, as reported by Peter Gammons.
Bonifacio has had a good amount of success this year in Chicago, acting mostly as a second baseman and center fielder, working well with a .279/.318/.373 triple slash, compiling 2 HR, 18 RBI and 14 stolen bases with missed time in 2014. Russell, on the other hand, has been a Cub for his career, and has a history of being used as a left handed specialist. Russell led the Cubs in overall appearances by a pitcher in 2012 and 2013, and has appeared in 44 games this season, with a 3.51 ERA in 33.1 IP.
The Cubs’ return is not nearly as substantial as their trade return earlier this season when Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel were dealt to Oakland, but the Cubs successfully addressed one of their larger needs in their system, that being represented by lack of catching depth. Despite the selection of Kyle Schwarber in this year’s MLB Draft, the Cubs do not have the same amount of catching depth as they do in other positions, notably middle infield. Caratini represents strong potential to be a future catcher for the Cubs, and will be sent to Low-A presumably upon his arrival to the Cubs organization. Caratini will turn 21 in mid-August.
This trade has been the only move either team has made today, and while it’s not a blockbuster trade by any means, Bonifacio looks to add a little more speed and average potential in a lineup that has been struggling this season. With the Braves addressing their need for a bat, they find themselves in a much better position to succeed.
As for the Cubs, the trade spells an increase in even more depth in one of the best farm systems in years, as both teams hope this has a profound impact on their teams at some point.