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