This is what Atlanta Braves fans like to see. Management making sneaky good deals right near the deadline. No need for the expensive hood ornaments when you can go out and get quality players that act like a can of STP in your crank case. That’s exactly what the Braves did last night when they went out and got left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson from the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs asking price? Right-handed pitchers Arodys Vizcaino, a prospect who had season-ending Tommy John surgery in April, and Jaye Chapman.
The Braves get an under-the-radar left-handed pitcher who is 5-0 in his last seven starts, and they get another right-handed bat hitting over .300 to bring off the bench, and platoon along with Matt Diaz. Pretty shrewd dealing by general manager Frank Wren and company.
Vizcaino and Chapman were two prospects that the Braves liked, but weren’t in love with. At last not in the way they are in love with Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran, and Christian Bethancourt. For the Braves to go out and get players that will actually help them in their push for a division championship, and not have to give up any of those guys, is shades of 1991 type trading for Atlanta.
Anyone remember late in 1991, when Braves GM John Schuerholz went out and got pitcher Mike Bielecki and catcher Damon Berryhill from the Cubs for young pitchers Turk Wendell and Yorkis Perez? Worked out pretty good for the Braves, and that trade was so late that Bielecki and Berryhill weren’t even eligible for the post-season rosters, but they certainly did help them in the final push in winning the National League West.
Maholm will be another strong arm in a rotation that has been steadily getting stronger. Now the Braves have six strong starters – Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Ben Sheets, Mike Minor, Kris Medlen and now Maholm - to pick from, and still have Randall Delgado in case of emergencies. Depth and fresh arms heading into the home stretch? Advantage – Braves.
Deals like this will help restore some of the Braves Nation’s faith in Frank Wren, and could put the Braves in a perfect position to overtake the division leading Washington Nationals.