7/31 Russell, Bonifacio to Braves

The Cubs sent James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio to the Braves on Thursday in exchange for 20-year-old catching prospect Victor Caratini, who was batting .279 at Class A Rome.

Russell, 28, has been a workhorse for the Cubs the last three seasons, and had appeared in 44 games this year with a 3.51 ERA. Left-handers were batting .295 off him compared to .103 by right-handers. Bonifacio, 29, was held out of the lineup Wednesday and Thursday. The switch-hitter, who has played second, third and center field, was batting .279 in 298 plate appearances.

“It’s good to have players who are coveted by other clubs,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s one of those things that happen at this time of year.”

This was the third straight year the Cubs have dealt two of their starting pitchers at the Trade Deadline. They also traded second baseman Darwin Barney to the Dodgers. Could this be the last year the Cubs are sellers?

“The way the organization has been going and acquiring players and drafting and developing kids in the system, I would hope it comes to the point where it shifts in a different direction,” Renteria said. “All of us are hopeful that will be the case in the near future. That’s been the hope and desire of the organization to get to a point like that. Things happen over the course of seasons and things change. Right now, we’re hopefully moving in the right direction.”

— Carrie Muskat


I’ve been wanting them to get a solid catching prospect. I thought they should have gotten one for Samardzija. Addison Russell may be the biggest thing since sliced bread, but I thought they should have gotten more for two of the best starting pitchers available (this season at least) from the NL. I’d like this one better if this kid was already in AA.

Does this open spots on the 40 man roster? It must. I’ll be curious if one of the regular Iowa Cubs is not in the lineup tonight.

I count the roster currently at 38 (counting Felix Doubront). It will jump up to 39 once Fujikawa comes off the 60-day DL, which should be any day now. That leaves one spot open. We shall see what they do, but I’m not going to bother to speculate because if I’m wrong then you’ll probably throw it back in my face when it’s convenient for you to do so. That and I really just don’t know what they’ll do.

I don’t know either. But I will speculate that it will be Olt. Valbuena to 2nd. Alcantara to CF. It would give Olt a chance to play everyday. Although, like you said once, Kalish could make sense. My heart says Baez, but I doubt it.

Ok, I guess I’ll throw my two cents in. Hope it’s not another Mike Olt situation for me though! As for the 25-man roster, they currently have two spots open. I’m guessing one will be filled by a pitcher and one by an infielder. Fujikawa is just about ready to come back, so he’ll probably be added soon. They could also swap out Rusin for Rosscup if they want a second hard-throwing lefty in the bullpen, as opposed to soft-tossing and used-to-starting Rusin. Or maybe Doubront joins the team right away too, swapping out Rusin for him. In the field, could be Olt, as he is hitting well at AAA, or could be Logan Watkins, who can play multiple positions and allow Alcantara to continue to swap between 2B and CF.
As for the 40-man, Fujikawa will be #39. I guess they don’t have to add a 40th player just yet. Maybe they’ll keep the spot open for now in case they need to fill a spot due to injury further down the road. But if they do choose to add someone to the 40-man now, could be Baez, could be Rivero, doesn’t have to be Bryant unless they plan on calling him up this season (which they said previously that they don’t), could be one of the AAA catchers since most teams usually like to carry three catchers when rosters expand in September. But really, there’s no reason to add the 40th man to the roster until September callups happen.

Doug, I wouldn’t classify Olt as a “situation” just yet as I believe there still lies hope in him rebounding. We should not dismiss his power numbers and the fact that 3rd base is still an open spot. I certainly have more optimism in Olt’s return to the bigs than I ever had with Stewart. Olt may straighten things out during his demotion as did Rizzo. He was after all a high draft pick right? #1? I’m all for giving him some time to turn things around. Have a good night.

I meant “Mike Olt situation” on a personal level. I was saying on here for awhile that they wouldn’t send Olt down to play first because that wouldn’t make sense due to Anthony Rizzo having the position firmly locked down. So I meant I would speculate about the roster now and hope that I wouldn’t have to eat my words later (as someone on here made me do last night).
As for Olt himself, he was a Supplemental First Round pick in 2010, so not super high, but high enough where he was on the prospect radar for some time. I guess they just wanted to give him regular at bats and didn’t care where he played to get them. He’s doing well at AAA so far, so maybe he will get a second chance in the final two months of the season, or at the very least be a September call-up.

Catilini is #7 on the Braves list….wonder where he falls on Cubs list.

Rays really gave away David Price………..and Billy Beane missed that one.

I like this trade, a couple of experts praise his (Victor Caratini) defense at both Catcher and 3B, then go on to say his bat is his better tool. Trade Rumors again.

I was looking at the Braves top prospects to figure out who might be……and Caratine jumped out at me……I thought to myself…”wishful thinking”…….then I hear it was him.

Baez NOT coming up according to Jed Hoyer……..Doug, did you hear that…. …it was Jed Hoyer who said it.

Did he say it directly to you, or did you hear it from some source? You know, someone on here who loves to hijack the blog once was certain that Theo Epstein said that the Cubs would not be outbid for Tanaka. Then when someone else actually looked into that quote, they found out that Theo never said anything like that. So was it really Jed Hoyer who said it, or was it a guy in the comment section of some blog that you visit saying it?

Doug …you make me laugh…….why are we back to Tanaka ?……….and if you fly, never say the word “hijack” …….or Liam Neeson will take you to the back of the plane.

Cubs Win…..Cubs Win

Doug, we all know each other on here. Cubs Talk, I think we all know what planet he is coming from.
No reason to let him or anyone else get to you.

Hope this is the last year the Cubs are sellers. Good to get any top rated catching prospects but this should really pay long term rewards. Glad to see it.

Hey Doug one trade made …. Not a few like you foresaw. …. One… One …. Once again you throwing stuff on the wall only for it not to stick

He wasn’t the only one saying there might be a few, experts were saying there may be a few. Sources were many.
Besides this one might have netted the team a very good catcher. One that don’t have to be put on the 40 man roster, one not available for the Rule 5.
Besides there may be more, I am sure there will be a few put on waivers through August.

I think you have me confused with Cubs Talk. He was saying everyone is going to be traded, not me.

My new mantra is “You can never have too many catchers.” Keep stockpiling catchers, Theo. Keep doing that until we find someone of the quality of Buster Posey or Yadier Molina or may I suggest, Johnny Bench? The best Cubs` catcher I can recall is Randy Hundley, and then there was Jodi Davis. But both those dudes had flaws too. We are still in search of a premier catcher, in my view. Keep acquiring catchers, Theo, until we find a keeper, just as you are attempting to do with shortstops. I admire what you are doing. You are going to discover gems at each position. I`m convinced it`s inevitable.

To get a 20 y/o Catcher with the upside and praise Victor Caratini received from experts, for Russell and Bonifacio, I am extremely excited about that trade.
Your right jhosk, good Catchers are a rarity.

Seems like a lot to give up for a single A catching prospect. Time will tell but this one is iffy at best. Two commodities, lefty out of pen and lead off hitting CF should bring more than low level prospect. I love getting catching prospect as we need it. But…..

JimOC, what really is lost? Neither player was going to win games on a consistent basis, neither was going to assist the Cubs going to the playoffs.
They got a Catcher with some upside that can help in a couple years. Cleared a couple Roster slots that will be needed come Rule 5 time.

JimOC, Bonafacio pretty much fell into Theo’s lap anyway due to the Royals lack of foresight so I look at this pretty much as Russell for Caratini, it’s not like we can claim Bonafacio as a highly valued, nurtured CUBS player. He was signed for just this reason…flipping him… I think we received real good value in Caratini. Going the other way and signing Bonafacio to a longer contract would have been nice to shore up the bench next season should Theo pull the trigger to START contending next season but he certainly can be replaced on the bench adequately enough anyway. Not a lot to “give up” at all.

I hear you, JimOC. I dislike seeing Boni depart especially. Hope we can re-sign him after this season. Trades are difficult to evaluate immediately. You have to allow time to pass. The catcher we acquired is just 20, as Jasper points out, and he could develop into a steal down the road. We need to upgrade that position in the organization. Forgive me if you`ve heard this from me before, but when Lou Brock was traded to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio back in the day, Cubs` fans thought it was highway robbery in Chicago`s favor. But as we learned as time passed, Brock went on to perform at a Hall of Fame level for the Redbirds, and Broglio won just seven games for the entire time he was with us. Bottom line, it was one of the most lopsided trades in major league history.

Aloha jhosk- funny you bring that one up again, Brock that is! I have enjoyed watching the “trades” as of yesterday! Look what the A’s gave up to the RedSox for Lester! Have to wonder if our Cubbies could have gotten more? I know we already got a lot from them. Also, I like you and Jasper has been wanting to see more in the catcher department. It had amazed me that the Yankees did not put together a better package for Shark, knowing they have so many catchers. Time will tell with all the trades made if they pan out or not, that is always a risk as you pointed out with Brock and that one hurt our Cubbies for a long time (some say if Brock were with the team in 69′, they would have won it). I have to give Billy Beane credit, he is pulling out all the stops and what a gusty move yesterday, I hope it works out for them he has done such a great job on a “shoe-string” budget for years. Take care now. Mahalo!

Yes, k.g. I liked very much the depiction of Beane in “Moneyball.” Do you think that was an accurate representation of the man? I see the Yankee prospects at their AAA farm team on a regular basis, and I`m not that impressed. I know they have many catchers, but none that stands out, with the possible exception of John Ryan Murphy. Do you have an opinion regarding the struggles of Hammel with the A`s, k.g.? Mahalo!

Aloha jhosk- I would have to say what I know about Beane and my friend’s who currently work and have worked for him, the movie does a pretty good portrayal in regard to how he is in real life. His mentor Sandy Alderson had quite a bit of influence on him when he first began but Alderson at least had teams that were going far in the playoffs, including the 89 W.S. so even though money was a factor, it became more of one later on for the team. I should have mentioned in regard to the Yankees, besides Murphy, they have Cervelli, Sanchez in addition to McCann. So, it just seemed that a package could have been put together for Shark and Hammel, various players let’s say. On Hammel, I feel sad for him, like Barry Zito. Some pitchers are easy when it comes to their environment, others it takes a while to get used to their new “homes” others never take. I am not sure yet where Hammel fits, I hope he is just getting used to a new organization and will produce soon. Now we watch and see after all these moves, which ones pan out and the ones that did not. Take care and have a great Aloha Friday! Mahalo!

With the Draft & Trades over, AUG about to begin, this is the difficult part of the season for myself. Of course there may be a waiver trade, but I am sure it will not amount to much.
We still have the rest of the year to see how guys like Alcantara, Hendrick, Relief Pitching, maybe Beeler, Olt if he returns perform. We still get to see Rizzo whose OBP is back up to 390 and Castro finish up.
As far as how many games they win, to me, it don’t matter. If you don’t make the playoffs, does it matter if they win 60 or 70?
Looking forward to some promotions.
I also think Management done an awesome job picking up some prospects for guys that were ready to make huge money.

Last Jim Hendry guy on this roster is now Starlin Castro………..it would not surprise me if Castro is moved next July for pitching……..we could have Addison Russell here by next year…..Bryant – Russell – Baez – Rizzo infield would look good……….Theo & Jed wants a team to win with their own guys………..as for Edwin Jackson, people say Cubs should let this guy go…….with two years left, that would be a mistake……2015 could be a turnaround year…….anyone want to see EJax collecting Cubs money, get waived, and get picked up by a rival team doing good !……..sooner or later, EJax will have to learn he has to work out his problems.

Castro Is not going anywhere…. what part of that do you not understand??? SS can change positions easily…. position flexibility is going to be a huge strength for this team. Who is to say Russel is even better than Castro? He hasn’t put up better numbers than Castro has…. you know what Castro was doing at the age of 20??? He was putting his name in the running for ROY…. Russell just got to AA and isn’t hitting 300….. Castro was hitting 300 in the majors. Russell and Castro can coexist in the same lineup. The FO has said this…. Carrie has said this…. I don’t know why you think you know more than those two sources

Carrie has also posited that both Russell and Baez are rated better shortstops than Starlin.

which is good because we have flexibility to move them to different positions…. thank you!

The thing is, Theo & Co. have been here for almost three seasons now. Castro has been here for that whole time. He might not have been one of their guys when they got here, but he’s played enough under them that he can now be considered one of “their guys.” Oh, and then there’s that whole thing with Theo giving Castro a contract that runs thru 2019. I would think that the easiest thing to do if you want to get rid of someone who you don’t think is “your guy” would be to not give him a contract extension thru 2019.

CubsTalk, you could be right on Castro. If the Cubs had a SS that was ready, it would not have shocked me to see him traded already. He may be gone over winter.
The reason I say this is not because he is a Hendry leftover, but because of his value. Not only is he a decent SS, but the contract he signed adds more value to the team wanting him.
Some say Castro will not be traded, they may be correct, I guess it just depends on the return.

I definitely think there is a good chance Castro ultimately gets traded as well. The key factors being whether Russell can play in the majors, and whether Bryant sticks at third. And I think your timing is right Cubs Talk – next July for pitching, unless someone blows them away during the offseason.

who cares if its a hendry leftover? The kid is 24 and already a 3 time AS…. Why is it a problem if we have three guys on the team capable of playing SS? Bryant can play the OF and probably would be better defensively there. Pitching is going to be bought. Trading away valuable position players to get expensive arms is just asking for trouble when that arm blows up. Which the probability of that happening is ever increasing.

petrey10, wouldn’t the same theory apply signing high priced FA pitchers?
Blowing out their arms?
I for one and I am sure most agree as well as Management on the Hendry leftovers, if a guy can play, who cares? Getting rid of guys because they were brought in under Hendry is, well, stupid.
Most of the guys that have left that were brought in under Hendry are gone because Hendry had no clue. Exception Samardizja.
Baez was Drafted under Hendry as well as the 2011 class, but thanks go to Tim Wilkin.

To me, trading Castro would be a best case scenario. It would mean that Bryant sticks at third (where he has the most value) and management sees Russell as comparable (or better) than Castro. And Castro would have a lot of value as a trade chip.

Theo & Co. gave Castro a contract extension thru the year 2019. If they wanted to get rid of any and all Hendry leftovers, they would not have given Castro a new contract! And yes, if they do trade Castro, it will be because they can get value for him and can have someone replace him who is just as good or better. Anyone who is trying to have the Cubs trade Castro on August 1st is way premature. There’s no pressure to trade Castro now or anytime in the near future, so stop trying to make it a pressing issue!

Doug, didn’t see anyone trying to trade Castro now, speaking of a possible transaction this winter or next July.

I meant talking about trading him now is premature. A lot can happen between now and this offseason, much less next July. I say let the pieces fall into place as they may and go with the flow.

I agree, however with guys moving up and if they continue to progress, it is interesting to discuss the different scenario’s with those who choose to do so.
The rest of this year, there wont be much to discuss, but I find the 2015 and beyond exciting.

yes but on high priced FA you aren’t losing prospects…. if you trade for a high priced Arm you pay the salary AND you lose prospects which hurts MUCH MUCH WORSE!!!!!!!

I see your point petrey10 and I get it. My thoughts are, if you have a SS that comes up that fields better, put him at SS. However by then, you may have a good fielder hitting and playing 3B, 2B. Can Castro be moved to the OF? Of course, but what if its full? Example: Soler, Alcantara, Bryant. By the time Russell arrives, maybe Soler, Alcantara, Almora. Maybe a FA, Almora and McKinney.
You could say Bryant wont play at 3B because of his fielding, to that I say, hes only been playing 1 year. Can or do 22 & 23 y/o players improve? Most do with work, so I wouldnt say he cant play 3B yet.
Then there is the Chance Olt comes around, that would put Bryant in the OF.
So what I am saying is, if Castro cant get that OBP up to around .335 and others do, he can be traded.
It just depends on how it plays out.

I can’t see Theo trying to trade Castro this off season….no rush to at this point……….if Addison Russell is the real thing, and shows he can play in the majors at shortstop, then Castro will be put on the trade block……second base is for Baez….third is for Bryant unless Bryant moves to OF and Castro moves to third……which then puts Bryant in LF, Alcantara in CF and Soler in RF………..when it is time for Theo to make a move to get pitching, and plenty of it, it will be Castro who will be the trade bait……so Cubs fans, you have to ask yourself this question… Do want to keep a Cub who is a fan favorite who could be a HOF one day?……or do you want to win a World Series…or two…or three of them if we can get the pitchers in a Castro trade?……..How many World Series appearances did HOF’s Banks, Williams, Santo, Jenkins, Sandberg give you in your life time?

Castro potential HOF`er? Please! You have a proclivity to wax hyperbolic, CubsTalk, as do some others on here.

Bryant’s value at 3B is the highest…. NO DOUBT… but his defense will be no where near the value of a Rizzo, Russell, Castro, Baez INF…… plus its not like Bryant’s bat isn’t going to be valuable in Lf/Rf. If Bryant could have plus defense in the OF his value could very easily be higher there. Lets just face it that Bryant could play 3B but its probably not going to be average or higher.
The thing I have a problem with is we are just getting to a point where we are going to be getting a good amount of talent on this team and fans are already talking about having to trade some of that talent. That doesn’t make us better. You trade your surplus talent much like Beane did this year…. he had surplus wild card arms and a stud prospects. A’s are a piece or two away from that WS run….. going all out. That doesn’t make sense for a Cubs team that may be .500 for the first time in a number of years. NOW if we get to the point where we are a player here or there from the WS then sure I could see a trade happening but that isn’t next year…. probably not the year after that. We need to hoard our talent for a year or two and see what we got.

so we can write off 2015…….maybe a chance in 2016 if we get pitching…..no doubt we have to be in the playoffs by 2017.

for a WS yes but there is no reason we can’t come within reach of the WC next year… check the standings… the reds are .500 or slightly under and they are what 3 or 4 games back at this point??? Thats laughable!

petrey10, its all just discussion or fan projection at this point. There is no way we can predict what Theo/Hoyer may do.
Look at the job Hendrick did last night. WOW! Against the Dodgers, their home stadium and near his hometown. lol The guy was fearless. Who else has the Scouting Department/Management have in hiding down on the farm? I honestly did not think we would see Hendrick or Beeler this year.
Now there is Straley and Doubront, both with ML experience. Who knows how they will do the rest of the year, especially ST 2015?
With the injury to Doubront, I would tell him the season is over for him and be ready for ST.

This team is not even a 500 club….and people are talking about Playoffs in 2015!…..Playoffs?…..Playoffs?……..we have to leap frog over four teams……four teams that has hitters & pitchers….and farm systems themselves…..except Milwaukee….their farm system just Sucks……………….Playoffs?……….lets just get to 500……that should be our first goal with this team.

Yes playoffs. What is the 2015 Cubs ML roster? Exactly. We don’t know yet….so playoffs are possible.

U don’t have to win the division to get into playoffs … A 500 team this year is 3-4 games back of WC… That’s wild card…. It’s all within reach

WC ?…..World Cup ?????……its called World Series……WS.

Castro can be traded at any time…so too can Russell. The cream rises to the top and it is fantastic to be having discussions about an ABUNDANCE of talent AND possibilities. Should the right package be offered I believe any one of our “can’t have too many shortstops” can be moved without decimating the future. This should now only arise if some stud pitchers are offered. If not, I too would love to see a line up with Castro, Baez, Russell and Bryant. But, not to get too far ahead of ourselves, of those four ONLY Castro has had TWO All Star selections and some EXCELLENT MAJOR LEAGUE seasons. I see no reason to TRY and trade Castro but every reason to sit back and listen to offers….until an amazing offer with ML ready stud pitchers are involved in return I’m not trading Castro, I’d rather buy some pitchers.

Could not agree more!

3 all star selections

For me, it is fun to talk about these things. Isn’t that the whole point of sites like this, to discuss different scenarios? The grizzled Bay Area radio hosts still talk wistfully about the early 90s during football season. They would start every program by saying. “Joe or Steve – go.” And they’d sit back and watch the phone lines light up. Now Castro and Russell doesn’t approach Young and Saint Montana, but for once the Cubs may actually have to make some tough decisions. And that’s a good thing!

We know that Cubs got a lot of prospects,,Cubs got a very good second baseman on Alcantara and a good center field with Lake,,we have a Soler the I think that he is ready to the leftfielder,,,the doubt is if Carantini is what Epstein is what he believe that he is

Lake is not good.. Bench player at this point. Alcantara is a good player but just a place holder if things pan out with the minor leaguers over the next 2-3 years

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