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PAUL MAHOLM AND REED JOHNSON TRADED TO THE BRAVES
Thu, 02 Aug 2012 02:30 AM EDT

The Braves boosted their rotation and added a right-handed bat to their bench by acquiring lefty Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson from the Cubs.

Braves GM Frank Wren confirmed the team traded right-handed pitchers Arodys Vizcaino, a top prospect who had season-ending Tommy John surgery in April, and Jaye Chapman to the Chicago Cubs. The Braves also got cash in the deal.

Chicago catcher Geovany Soto was pulled from Monday night’s 14-4 win over Pittsburgh, as was Johnson, and they both hugged colleagues in the dugout. The Cubs were expected to send Soto to Texas.

”He came out of the game and declared goodbye,” Cubs backup catcher Steve Clevenger asserted. ”Everybody said that he was traded and we went on from there.”

Chicago Cubs ace Ryan Dempster has attracted interest from a few clubs, latterly, a contract to send Dempster to Atlanta through.

Instead, with the Braves having won 6 straight and only 3 1-2 games behind Washington in the National League East and in the middle of the wild-card chase, they plucked another Cubs pitcher.

”It was one of those circumstances obviously where Atlanta Braves was in the marketplace for a beginning pitcher,” Cubs GM Jed Hoyer expounded with a laugh. ”It made the talk a bit easier.”

”There’s certainly no hard feeling from the front office on what happened” with the potential Dempster deal, Hoyer announced.

”As the deadline gets closer, people’s positions get clearer. I suspect it’s going to be busy tonight and I think it is going to be busy in the morning,” Hoyer said.

”There will be a large amount of calls. Whether we’re going to make other deals, we’ll see. But I know there’ll be a large amount of telephone calls,” he said. ”I don’t think tonight is going to be one with a lot of sleep.”

Wren said the team views Vizcaino as a rising power reliever, but he revealed Maholm and Johnson are players who can contribute for the Braves’ playoff hopes. Basketball lines

”We wish to put ourselves in a good position to win the division, not simply make the playoffs,” Wren recounted.

”We were searching for a starter, a top quality starter that could give us the kind of production we needed up and down the rotation.”

Hoyer asserted trading Maholm, who has an option year for 2013, and Johnson, who will be a free agent, is ”the kind of chance we need to take right now.”

”We’ve been actually clear all along that we are not saying right now and we need to take assets that are shorter term and turn them into long term assets,” Hoyer said.

Maholm, 29, is 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA, including a 4-0 record and 1.23 ERA in July. He is 62-79 in 8 seasons, including seven with Pittsburgh. The Atlanta Braves will have a $6.5 million option to keep Maholm in 2013.

Johnson is hitting .333 against left-handers this season. He’s 13 for 29 (.448) as a pinch hitter.

The 35-year-old Johnson is hitting .307 with three homers and 16 RBIs. He has played all 3 outfield positions and is a career.284 hitter.


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