On a day in which many are calling it the best MLB Trade Deadline to date, the Chicago Cubs were a part of the action.
The Cubs announced on Thursday that they have completed a trade with the Atlanta Braves that has sent outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and relief pitcher James Russell to the Braves. In return, the Cubs acquired class-A catcher Victor Caratini.
Caratini adds some much needed organization depth for the Cubs at the catcher position. Entering the season, Caratini was rated as the Braves’ 8th best prospect.
Bonifacio, who was anticipating a trade since Wednesday, finished his time with the Cubs hitting .279/.318/.373 with an OPS+ of 90 this season.
Meanwhile, Russell has made 44 appearances out of the Cubs’ bullpen this season while posting an ERA of 3.51 to go along with a FIP of 4.27. The Braves’ interest in Russell dates back to last season.
Replacing Bonifacio on the Major League roster will not be Javier Baez. Cubs’ general manager Jed Hoyer immediately got ahead of the speculation and insisted that Baez will not be taking Bonifacio’s roster spot.
That is the smart decision from the Cubs. There simply is no need for the Cubs to rush Baez to the Major League level. The proper thing to do would be to let Baez finish out the season with the Iowa Cubs and then possibly bring the prospect up in September when the rosters expand.
Logan Watkins appears to be the likeliest option to replace Bonifacio on the Major League roster.
Russell will likely be replaced on the roster by Felix Doubront or Kyuji Fujikawa. Doubront was acquired by the Cubs in a trade with the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday. Fujikawa has been on a rehab assignment after recovering from Tommy John surgery last season.