Breaking Down Chicago Cubs Trade With The Atlanta Braves

If you’re reading this, then the Chicago Cubs have finally dealt a pitcher to the Atlanta Braves, though it wasn’t quite the hurler we had hoped it would be.

The two sides made the deal official late Monday night, as the Cubs sent lefty Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson to Atlanta in exchange for minor league pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.

Without any real analysis, it’s clear this trade is a win for the Cubs. They sold high on Maholm, who has been absolutely sizzling for the past few weeks, while also managing to get something of value in return for fourth outfielder Reed Johnson. Maholm will be a nice guy in the backend of the Braves’ rotation, while Johnson will be a nice bat and glove off the bench, as well as in the clubhouse.

But what about these guys the Cubs got in return? Most would have preferred Randall Delgado, but when you’re picking from the Braves farm system, there’s certainly a lot to like.

The bigger prize in the deal will very likely be Arodys Vizcaino. The bad news comes first, though. Vizcaino had Tommy John surgery during spring training and is obviously out until teams start to head south for spring training in 2013. But if he can rebound, this is a huge get for the Cubs.

Vizcaino was one of the bigger prospects in that loaded Braves system. He has a fastball that hangs around in the low-90s, to go along with a great curve and a nice changeup as well. His control is also top notch. He projects as a front of the rotation starter at some point, though it will be interesting to see if the Cubs plan to start him out in the bullpen, as the Braves were looking to do prior to his injury.

Then you have Chapman, who isn’t a bad piece in his own right. He has very nice strikeout numbers in Triple-A for the Braves this year, with a touch over 10 K/9. His walk numbers are a bit high as well, though, with almost five per nine, to go along with his 3.52 ERA. If he pans out, he could be a very nice addition to the Cubs’ bullpen.

This could be a nice deal for the Braves, as they add a couple of strong guys for the stretch run, but this could be a fantastic deal for the Cubs if it all comes together. If Vizcaino gets healthy and can stay healthy, he’s an absolute steal. And Chapman should be a nice add as well, if he can cut down on the free passes. In giving up guys who weren’t going to be part of the future anyway, you have to love this deal if you’re a fan of the Chicago Cubs.

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