With the big names that were flying around at the end of the MLB Trade Deadline, the move made by the Atlanta Braves understandably flew under the radar. The trade was not as big of a deal as others completed around it, but the Braves did a good job adding depth in two key areas while losing very little in return. Emilio Bonifacio and pitcher James Russell come to Atlanta along with cash and the Chicago Cubs will get Victor Caratini.
While Russell isn’t quite as exciting as other lefty relievers that the Braves might have been interested in, he will give them a deeper option from the left side. His career numbers look good and the Braves usually can get a lot out of a little when it comes to trades anyway. The addition of Bonifacio is a great addition for bench depth as well as providing some insurance.
If anything has become clear for the Braves this season, it is that their infield depth is not all that exciting. If it had not been for rookie Tommy La Stella emerging as a great offensive option, the Braves would be stuck with Dan Uggla or worse at second base. Anyone else they have pulled up from the minor leagues has provided solid defense, but no offense to speak of.
Bonifacio will be fine defensively and has been a big spark offensively this season when healthy. If anyone can use more speed and a spark on offense, it is the Braves. The only question in this move is about Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Simmons admitted soreness in his shoulder after a dive on Wednesday. Bonifacio is no Simmons on defense, but he provides the little bit of insurance that the Braves did not have yesterday at that position and the other infield spots.
Another bit of trivia is the fact that Bonifacio can play the outfield as well. Could it be that the Braves are giving themselves some insurance in center field as well? You can count on it.