|Trade Deadline: Cubs ship Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson to Braves||07.31.12 at 9:31 am ET|
With Ryan Dempster still occupying the team’s trading block, the Cubs went out and made a change to their pitching staff.
With the trade deadline looming, the Cubs traded away left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson to the Braves in exchange for top right-handed pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.
On Monday, the Braves were still in the market for Dempster and a deal for the 35-year-old pitcher fell through. Still in need of starting pitching, they continued to talk with the Cubs for another one on their staff.
Maholm, 30, is 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA with the Cubs this season. He has pitched exceptionally well recently, though, putting up a 5-0 record with a 1.02 ERA in his last six starts dating back to June 29. In those six starts, he has pitched at least six innings and given up either one or no runs.
Johnson, a 35-year-old outfielder, was starting for the Cubs in centerfield last night. He scored two runs before being pulled late in the game, and after being told he had been traded, exchanged hugs and pleasantries with his now former teammates in the dugout.
In 10 big league seasons, Johnson has hit an average of .284, but is having one of his best hitting seasons this year. In 76 games with the Cubs, he has hit .302 with three home runs and 16 RBIs.
On the other end of the deal, the Cubs received one of the most promising young arms in baseball with Vizcaino. The 21-year-old power pitcher, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery that he had in March, was ranked as high as the third-best prospect in the Braves system. Last season with the Braves, he made 17 relief appearances and registered a 1-1 record with a 4.67 ERA.
The Cubs also acquired Chapman, a Triple-A pitcher who was 3-6 with seven saves and a 3.52 ERA in 40 games with Gwinnett, to round out the deal.
Cubs deal Soto
The Cubs were busy on Monday night, also trading away catcher Geovany Soto to the Rangers in exchange for Double-A pitcher Jake Brigham.
Soto, who was named the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year, is posting career-low numbers with the Cubs this season. In 52 games, he has a .199 batting average with just six home runs and 14 RBIs.
Soto gives the Rangers depth and insurance at the catcher position going into the 2012 offseason. The Rangers designated Yorvit Torrealba to assignment, while everyday starter Mike Napoli remains a question mark whether he’ll re-sign or go somewhere else. Soto earns $4.3 million in 2012 and is on pace to go to arbitration this offseason.
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