Ever since I began watching the Atlanta Braves in 1990, they have been a team that always seems to make the right moves at the trade deadline. Over the years, the Braves have added Fred McGriff, Mark Teixeira and other pieces to the puzzle in an effort to reach the postseason. With the 4 p.m. trade deadline looming today (Tuesday), the Braves aren't waiting until the last minute to make a move. On July 30, they acquired a quality arm from the Chicago Cubs, and no, Ryan Dempster didn't change his mind and accept the trade that was proposed last week.
The Braves picked up reliable left-handed starter Paul Maholm and outfielder/pinch hitter Reed Johnson from the Cubs. In exchange, the Braves sent Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman to the Cubs. Essentially, Atlanta filled two much-needed holes in their playoff push and didn't need to deal Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran or any of the other blue-chip prospects in the minor leagues. While it would have been great to see Zack Greinke or even Dempster in an Atlanta uniform, this is just another deal that shows me that Frank Wren is a solid general manager and can make the proper adjustments to work out a deal even after getting shot down.
Maholm has been a solid starting pitcher throughout his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cubs. He had a terrible 2010 that saw him go 9-15 with a 5.10 ERA, but has bounced back by recording sub-4.00 ERA's in 2011 and this season. He had a 9-6 record with 81 strikeouts in 120 1/3 innings with the Cubs and will immediately join the Atlanta rotation, pushing Kris Medlen back into the bullpen after one start.
With Johnson, the Braves get a welcomed veteran presence on the bench to help Eric Hinske in the late innings. Johnson was hitting .302 with three home runs and 16 RBIs and could be a more valuable pickup if Matt Diaz's thumb doesn't get better before October.
The key part of the trade for the Cubs was Vizcaino, who is currently out after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Atlanta acquired the talented pitcher in 2009 in the deal that brought Melky Cabrera to the team. He made 17 appearances in 2011, going 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA after being a late season call-up. If he can recover from the surgery, he could be a great asset to the Cubs for many years to come.
Source: Yahoo Sports
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Hobson Lopes has been a life-long Atlanta Braves fan, thanks to TBS, and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
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