With less than 24-hours left before the trade deadline, teams were starting to make minor moves on Monday night. Among those active were the Cubs, Braves, Rangers, Mariners, Dodgers, Pirates and Blue Jays. Here is a rundown of all of the low profile trades from Monday evening.
Trading Places: Monday's Minor Moves
Tuesday July 31st, 2012
Chicago sends Maholm and Johnson for Minor League Arms
Cubs General Manager Theo Epstein started the fire sale in Chicago Monday night by finally making a deal with the Braves GM Frank Wren, sending left-handed starting pitcher Paul Maholm and platoon outfielder Reed Johnson to Atlanta for two minor league righties Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.
Maholm has been incredible in his last seven starts by going 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA and striking out 32 over 45 innings pitched. The 30 year-old is under contract for the 2013 season for a reasonable $6.5 million club option. Reed Johnson, also heading to Atlanta, can play all three outfield positions if needed, but is an above average defender when playing left or right field. He does well at the plate against lefties, posting a .321/.367/.524 triple slash line this season in 84 at-bats, and will add great depth to the team as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement.
In return for the two veterans, the Cubs receive two minor league pitchers with upside. Arodys Vizcaino, 21 years-old, was regarded as one of the Braves top pitching prospects before having to undergo Tommy John surgery this past spring. Pre-surgery, he had a lively mid-to-upper 90's fastball and posted a 9.3 K/9 as a minor league pitcher in 2011. Jaye Chapman, 25 years-old, carries a 3.25 ERA with a 10.1 K/9 while pitching in Triple-A this season. He possibly could join the Cubs bullpen immediately depending on other trades made before the deadline today.
Rangers acquire Geovany Soto for Minor League Pitcher
The Texas Rangers added catcher Geovany Soto via trade on Monday evening, sending minor league arm Jacob Brigham to Chicago in return.
Geovany Soto, the 2008 National League Rookie of the Year, has had a disappointing 2012 so far, hitting only .195 with 6 home runs over 176 at-bats. His bat has more upside than former Rangers back-up catcher Yorvit Torreabla, who was designated for assignment by the Rangers after the acquisition of their new backstop. Soto, who has one year of arbitration left, probably would have been non-tendered this off-season by the Cubs. If Soto's performance improves while in Texas, the Rangers would have an in-house option to replace Mike Napoli if he would leave as a free agent.
Jacob Brigham, the 24 year-old right-hander the Cubs received in return for Soto has made 21 starts this season at Double-A, striking out 8.4 batters per nine innings pitched and projects as an end of the rotation or middle relief pitcher at the major league level.
Pirates Swap Brad Lincoln for Travis Snider
In a trade that involved two formerly highly touted prospects that have yet to live up to their potential in the major leagues, the Pirates shipped right-handed pitcher Brad Lincoln to Toronto for outfielder Travis Snider.
The left-handed hitting Snider gets added to a mix of outfielders in Pittsburgh that will play on either side of Andrew McCutchen in center. The 24 year-old will be under team control through 2016, and adds a dangerous bat when the Bucs are facing right handed pitching, but manager Clint Hurdle will have to find a way to split him and Pedro Alvarez, another left-handed power hitter with a high strikeout rate, in the lineup on those days.
Brad Lincoln was ranked as the Pirates top pitching prospect until the start of the 2010 season. He never quite lived up to his potential as a starter, but has flourished as a late inning reliever so far in 2012. Out of the pen this season he has a 0.50 ERA, 5.00 K/BB ratio, and batters are only hitting .176 against him over 35-plus innings. If his new team keeps him in this role, he will definitely strengthen the bullpen in Toronto.
Dodgers Trade for Former Closer Brandon League
In efforts to add depth to a bullpen that has been riddled with injury, the Dodgers acquired Brandon League from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for outfield prospect Leon Landry and right-hander Logan Bawcom.
Brandon League will be a free agent at the end of the season, so the former closer will be just a rental arm for the Dodgers for the remainder of the 2012 season. League has not been as impressive this season as in years past, carrying a 3.63 ERA and striking out only 5.4 batters every nine innings. This trade may facilitate a future trade as well for the club.
Both minor league players heading to Seattle don't project to be anything more than organizational depth at this time, but Landry, 22 years-old, is hitting .328/.358/.599 at High-A ball this season.
Blue Jays Send Eric Thames to Seattle for Steve Delabar
The Blue Jays added another bullpen arm late Monday night when they sent outfielder Eric Thames to Seattle in exchange for Steve Delabar .
Thames floundered after winning the starting left field job out of spring training this season, hitting only .243 with 11 RBI before being demoted to Triple-A in May. He will join the Mariners bench and have a chance to win a starting position for next season the remainder of the 2012.
Steve Delabar, 29 years-old, is a hard throwing right-hander with respectable numbers at the major league level, carrying a career 3.92 ERA and 0.985 WHIP in his 43.2 innings pitched over the past two seasons with Seattle. He will be under Blue Jays control through the 2017 season, and could be a mainstay in their pen over that time.
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