Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Paul Maholm (28) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fourth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
The Atlanta Braves picked up a left-handed starting pitcher and a right-handed outfielder from the Chicago Cubs, acquiring Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson.
The Atlanta Braves thought they had a deal done for Ryan Dempster, who has been the Chicago Cubs' ace this season, but Dempster exercised his no-trade rights, ostensibly to go to Los Angeles. The Braves moved on to Plan B, then, acquiring Dempster's teammate, Paul Maholm. Right-handed reserve outfielder Reed Johnson is also going to the Braves in the deal. The Cubs will receive two pitching prospects, Jaye Chapman and Arodys Vizcaino.
Maholm was the Pirates' first-round pick in 2003, and came to the Cubs as a free agent before the 2012 season. He made 20 starts for the Cubs, with a 3.74 ERA, 34 walks, and 81 strikeouts in 120 innings. Both the walk rate and the strikeout rate are tied for the best marks of his career. The Braves now hold a $6.5 million option on the left-hander for 2013.
Johnson is hitting over .300 for the second straight season, and he has a .308/.354/.461 career line in 412 at-bats over his Cubs career.
Vizcaino, 21, was one of the Braves' top prospects, and Baseball America ranked him among the top-100 prospects in each of the past three seasons. The right-hander had Tommy John surgery before the 2012 season, though, and he is out for the season.