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Cubs trade James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio to the Braves for a catching prospect.

Jul 31, 2014, 4:52 PM EDT


Another at-the-deadline trade has come in: the Braves have acquired reliever James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio from the Cubs for minor league catcher Minor league catcher Victor Caratini.

Russell is the lefty in the pen the Braves had been rumored to be looking for. Overall he’s 0-2 with a 3.51 ERA and 26 strikeouts against 16 walks in 44 innings this year.¬†In 2014 lefties have actually tattooed him compared to righties, which he has handled quite well, though that’s obviously on a small sample. For his career his splits are what you would expect — better against lefties than righties — but not such a pronounced split that he’s DEATH TO ALL LEFTIES or anything.

Bonifacio has been a super sub for ages. He can play three infield positions and has covered center field. His bat is no great shakes, but he has his moments. He’s good injury protection and a nice guy to have on the bench.

Caratini is the Braves’ #6 overall prospect. He’s 20, is playing at Rome in the Sally League, but he’s essentially blocked by Christian Bethancourt and Evan Gattis (and others) in the system. He could be a good one one day, however. In 611 minor league plate appearances he has a .377 OBP.

  1. mazblast - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Emilio Bonifacio–the Dave Roberts of a different decade.

    At least, that’s how he should be used. Play him once a week, in his case preferably in CF (he’s not that good in the infield), and use him as a pinch-runner.

    Russell–Doesn’t really stink, but doesn’t do anything that well. Don’t make him your #1 bullpen lefty unless you live for disappointment.

  2. proudlycanadian - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    The Cubs continue to add position players to their fine list of prospects. Not sure about what they plan to do about pitching.

    • El Bravo - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      Cross their collective fingers.

    • siris46 - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:52 PM

      The have CJ Edwards who is ranked 7, Arodys Vizcaino ranked 10, Pierce Johnson ranked 11, Jen-Ho Tseng ranked 16, Paul Blackburn ranked 17, Kyle Hendricks ranked 19 and Corey Black ranked 20th who are all pitching prospects for the Cubs.

      Maybe read up a bit more next time.

      • proudlycanadian - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:55 PM

        Thank you for your input. Are those rankings based on all of baseball and who did the rankings?

      • proudlycanadian - Jul 31, 2014 at 6:12 PM

        Looking at’s list of the top 100 prospects, Edwards is #60 and the others are not in the top 100. These lists are often wrong; however, thinks that while Chicago has several high quality position players it has only one top 100 pitching prospect.

      • cpduke - Jul 31, 2014 at 7:31 PM

        What dream world do you live in? Those rankings you give are obviously in-house for the Cubs, meaning that they think C.J. Edwards is the 7th best prospect they have in their system. Overall, he is ranked a generous 28th by Baseball America, 60th by, 71st by Scouting Book, and 81st by Baseball Prospectus. The others you list make absolutely NO appearance at all on anyone’s top prospects list. Get your facts straight before telling others to “read up a bit more next time.”

      • wjarvis - Jul 31, 2014 at 8:26 PM

        Clearly they will either need to package some prospects or look to FA for pitching at some point. To be fair, Vizcaino was a to 50 prospect two years ago before needing surgery.

        Arrieta looks like he’s a #2 pitcher who could potentially be an ace, so they’ll need to find 1 elite pitcher. The 3-5 pitchers should be pretty easy to either get from the minors or free agency. If they hit on a reasonable number of their prospects then they’ll have a decently low payroll to afford paying for pitching via FA or have enough talent in the minors to trade for some. A Cubs team that is winning can afford to spend a lot more on salaries than what they are spending right now.

  3. mcbeet - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    that .279 BA is looking pretty good to me. seeing as the guy we trot out to CF hits .215 and all.

  4. Bar None - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Wow, I thought they would have gotten a little more out of the deal. Maybe a low prospect or something. I will just want and see what Theo and Company produce.

  5. txraiderfan - Jul 31, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    The Braves got the better end of this deal.

    • Uncle Charlie - Jul 31, 2014 at 7:52 PM

      Watch Russell pitch.

  6. general74 - Jul 31, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    I think some of these prospects we keep getting will be packaged down the road when the cubs are ready to compete to get a major league player who can help. Even if some change positions others will always be blocked so it makes sense to think these trades are just for depth for a possible future trade once the team is hopefully ready to contend.

  7. perryt200 - Jul 31, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Craig was right, being a Cubs fan is a special sort of sickness. My father-in-law is infected, I know.

    Prospects by and large are like the fastest guy on the team that just can’t hit.

    You can’t steal first base.

    • wjarvis - Jul 31, 2014 at 8:39 PM

      Well that doesn’t really describe any of the Cubs prospects, the bigger concern is that they’ll be like Olt in the Majors, hit for power but with way too many strikeouts and not get on base enough.

  8. delusionalcubsfan - Jul 31, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    Cubs continue to stock up on prospects. They now have two decent prospects for every position on the field. This should help account for the ones who inevitably don’t pan out. Caratini from what I hear may be a legit catching prospect, unlike Kyle Schwarber who will end up an outfielder. Some fans like to complain about the alleged lack of pitching prospects but they’ve got decent arms in the minors, just no “can’t miss” pitching prospects, who often miss by the way. They have the minor league depth to trade for starters. They also have incredible payroll flexibility for a big market team and don’t have a single bad contract that will stop them from going into the free agent market for pitching. When the Cubs decide to get serious about buying pitchers, they’ll be able to get whoever they want. Go Cubs!

    • moondog440 - Jul 31, 2014 at 9:31 PM

      No bad contracts? Ummm… “No-win” Jackson at 4years/$48 million is a pretty bad contract. He is the worst pitcher to ever throw a no-no…

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