Braves Acquire Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson From Cubs

According to multiple sources, the Braves have acquired Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson from the Chicago Cubs.

Paul Maholm will likely take a spot in the rotation. His current ERA/FIP/xFIP line stands at 3.74/4.11/4.19. Both his FIP and xFIP are a tad below league average. The move out of Wrigley Field should help his numbers drop a bit. He has been on a recent hot stretch which has caused some fans to overreact about the type of pitcher the Braves might be getting. He will be a serviceable pitcher, not the ace many fans wanted, but should be able to get the job done replacing Jair Jurrjens. Only Tim Hudson (2.0) has a higher fWAR than Maholm (1.5).

Reed Johnson is also a very solid pick up. He will likely be put to a 4th OF role and one of the first bats off the bench, especially against lefties. In 75 games, Johnson has compiled a .307/.361/.452 line with a 117 wRC+. Not a bad guy to have come off the bench. Fielding he can play all three positions but is pretty average across the board. His BABIP is currently well above his career average so expect this to regress the rest of the season. His ZIPS projections for the rest of the season agrees. Expect him to be a better version of Matt Diaz.

There is no word yet on who the Braves have given up, but we know it isn’t Teheran/Delgado/Minor/Gilmartin/Spurril. I will update this when we know more. First reports are two lower level minor leaguers. Just from knowing this I like the trade. Johnson is a much needed bat off the bench and will automatically take the 4th OF position. Malholm is not exactly a guarantee and won’t perform like he has his past six starts, but will be a welcomed addition over Jair Jurrjens. This also allows the Braves to keep Medlen in the bullpen.

Good move by Frank Wren and the front office.

Be sure to follow on Twitter: @decisions_brave

UPDATE (11:30 PM): One of the pitcher included in the deal in 25 year-old Jaye Chapman. Not bad so far.

UPDATE (11:45 PM): The second pitcher is Arodys Vizciano who had Tommy John surgery in March. He was one of the Braves top prospects coming into the year. Keith Law actually had him ranked higher than Julio Teheran and the number one prospect in the system. Vizcaino is a remarkable talent, but has always had injury questions. This deal seemed too good to be true, it was. Giving up Vizcaino changes my opinion of this deal. Seems like the Cubs made out on this one. He will likely stick in the bullpen with the Cubs. His strong fastball and curveball could make him a dominant closer.

There is no guarantee Vizcaino will come back and be able to stay healthy. This is a high risk high reward trade for the Cubs. There is no need for a total overreaction though, the Braves got two key pieces that they were in need of.

UPDATE (7/31 11:30 PM): Here is a great article on FanGraphs from Ben Duronio further breaking down this trade for the Braves. Ben also writes for the Braves blog Capitol Avenue Club.


4 Comments on “Braves Acquire Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson From Cubs”

  1. JNick says:

    Braves now hold a $6.5 mil option on Malholm for 2013. Not sure about Johnson.

    • Andrew Sisson says:


      Maholm has a $6.5M club option or a $500K buyout for the 2013 season.

      Johnson will make $1.25M in 2012 and will be a free-agent after the season.

  2. Don says:

    Probably about as good of a trade as the Braves could have made. I like it

    • Andrew Sisson says:

      Braves filled two of the big needs they had. Did they give up a bit much, probably. But it was hard to imagine the Braves not giving up one of their top 5 young pitchers.

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