The news came about 20 minutes after the trade deadline passed, but it did come:
Source: Russell and Bonifacio to Atlanta.
Source: Russell and Bonifacio to Atlanta.— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) July 31, 2014
And there were many hugs in the Cubs bullpen and dugout as James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio said goodbye to their teammates.
Russell was a 14th-round pick of the Cubs back in 2007. He was a starting pitcher throughout most of his minor league career. He made it to the majors to open the 2010 season and spent the whole season in the bullpen. Mike Quade made moved him into the starting rotation in 2011 to mostly disastrous results. He returned to the pen after five starts and has been there ever since as lefty set-up man to mostly good results. His career line with the Cubs was 10-16 with a 3.87 ERA and three saves in 316 appearances. He was the longest-tenured Cub before being dealt to the Braves.
Bonifacio is an eight-year major league veteran whom the Cubs picked up when the Royals released him in spring training. Despite missing considerable time with an injury, Bonifacio had a sold .279/.318/.373 line with 14 steals.
In return, the Cubs received minor league catcher Victor Caratini, 20 years old, who was listed as the Braves no. 6 prospect in the Baseball America mid-season update. Caratini was a second-round pick out of a junior college last season. This season playing for Rome in the South Atlantic League (The equivalent of Kane County), he has hit .279/.352/406 with five home runs in 365 plate appearances.
This is Caratini's first full season behind the plate, as he was primarily a third baseman in college. In their preseason guide, Baseball America wrote:
Caratini is an advanced hitter with a line-drive swing, a gap-to-gap approach from both sides of the plate and an excellent feel for the strike zone.
Sounds like someone Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would want. Especially if they think he can stick at catcher, where the Cubs system is considered weak.
So we welcome Caratini to the Cubs and we wish Russell and Bonifacio all the best in Atlanta.