Braves Acquire James Russell, Emilio Bonifacio

3:38pm: ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers tweets that the Cubs are sending cash to Atlanta as well. It will be about $1MM going to Atlanta, tweets Wittenmyer.

3:33pm: Wittenymyer tweets that a minor league catcher is headed to Chicago. Peter Gammons tweets that Chicago receives Victor Caratini from Atlanta.

3:24pm: The Braves have acquired left-hander James Russell and utilityman Emilio Bonifacio from the Cubs, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (on Twitter).

James Russell

Russell, 28, has posted a 3.51 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and a career-best 40.9 percent ground-ball rate. While he’s picking up more grounders than ever, Russell has also shown the worst command of his career — a trend he will hope to correct with the Braves. Russell has typically handled left-handed hitters pretty well, but the opposite has been true in 2014; right-handed batters have a meager .364 OPS against Russell, while same-handed batters have an alarming .295/.358/.525 batting line against him. In his career, however, lefties have batted .240/.276/.416 against Russell. He is earning just $1.9MM in 2014 and is controlled through 2015.

The switch-hitting Bonifacio, 29, had a solid debut season for the Cubs before being included in the trade. He’s hitting .279/.318/.373 with a pair of homers and 14 steals (in 20 attempts). Defensive metrics have liked his work at second base, third base and in center field this season, though his career marks aren’t as strong.

Bonifacio had an interesting offseason, as he was tendered a contract by the Royals and agreed to a $3.5MM salary before being released (and subsequently paid only a portion of his still non-guaranteed deal). The speedster latched on with the Cubs in Spring Training and played well, though he’s spent a portion of the year on the disabled list.

As for Caratini, he was a second-round pick by the Braves in 2013 and ranked as the organization’s No. 7 prospect on’s midseason top 20 list. The 20-year-old Caratini has batted .279/.352/.406 in 87 games at Class-A this season. He’s a switch-hitting catcher who also plays third base. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo at feel that he’s a good enough defender to handle either position, but clearly he would have more value behind the dish. Though Callis and Mayo praise his defense, they feel that his bat is a better tool.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

129 Responses to Braves Acquire James Russell, Emilio Bonifacio Leave a Reply

  1. ihwf_vp 12 months ago

    There it is.. knew Bonifacio had to be going somewhere today

    • ihwf_vp 12 months ago

      No one the cubs get Christian Bethancourt? braves have #5 rated catching prospect per mlb

    • ihwf_vp 12 months ago

      No one the cubs get Christian Bethancourt? braves have #5 rated catching prospect per mlb

  2. Ace2095 12 months ago

    This is the best trade deadline ever.

    • Trock 12 months ago

      It definitely blows last year out of the water. It’s a bad trade deadline when the only headliner you can remember is Garza…

      • Ace2095 12 months ago

        I remember Peavy, but that’s because I’m a Red Sox fan. But the only trade last year from the last hour was Bud Norris I think.

      • letsgogiants 12 months ago

        The biggest blockbuster at the deadline last year was the Peavy trade. If that trade happened this year (which wouldn’t, as the Sox are sellers, not buyers this year), it would have gotten buried in the Lester-Cespedes and Price trades.

  3. LayerCake 12 months ago

    Is this our new running theme? Every deadline trade for a Cubs player?

    • bravo_84 12 months ago

      They’ve got to have one or two good ones, might as well keep trying…

  4. Ace2095 12 months ago

    I like the addition of Russell for the Braves, he will provide them with a solid arm out of the pen. Bonifacio will give the Braves some good depth, it’s a good trade depending on who they gave up.

    • Gil Reese 12 months ago

      russell has a dead arm last 2plus yrs.enjoy

      • Braves have always been able to capitalize on pitchers that were thought to be useless. Best pitching coaches in the MLB.

  5. Justin Case 12 months ago

    Nothing for the Dodgers? Really?

    • Mike Query 12 months ago

      Ya because you guys need even more.

      • Justin Case 12 months ago

        We actually need a right-handed reliever pretty badly

        • Mike Query 12 months ago

          Maybe next year youll spend 400 million and have all stars at every position instead of only half of them then.

  6. coreybishop 12 months ago

    Thank you. This is what we were waiting for. ^_^

  7. Spencer James 12 months ago

    Meanwhile, the Phillies and RAJ are twiddling their thumbs wondering how they didn’t get top tier prospects for Marlon Byrd.

    • Ace2095 12 months ago

      He overplayed his hand, he deserves to be fired, but he will somehow find a way to keep his job….

    • IdontknowwhyIpostonforums 12 months ago

      For some reason this cracked me up enormously.

    • Bill 12 months ago

      I’m fine with it. No need to let RAJ make another bad trade. The next move I want to hear about is RAJ being fired.

      • KJ4realz 12 months ago

        Wondering if that could be why no moves are made? Ownership is like ‘naw, dude, let’s just keep the guys’ and then seasons over… Bam bye bye rubes

        • Utley's Knees 12 months ago

          Phillies need young players from the higher levels who are ready or almost ready to play in MLB. Why make a trade for trades sake when you do not have anyone to replace them? Lastly, we still have this August and next winter to move some players whose contracts end next year or the next year.

          • IdontknowwhyIpostonforums 12 months ago

            I think for many of the players they would or could trade, their value will never be higher than right now. Cliff Lee may be an exception.

  8. cubs7691 12 months ago

    I always like trading with the braves. They’re great trading partners. Always a fair trade.

    • Sadwick 12 months ago

      Don’t tell that to the Diamondbacks.

      • SZZaam 12 months ago

        Or the Astros (Michael Bourn)

        • Ron E. Roberts 12 months ago

          Trades are a two-way road (or more, sometimes). Each team gets input on who they’re shipping off and wanting in return. Don’t hate the Braves because the other teams’ scouting departments let ’em down.

    • GetToTheChoppa 12 months ago

      For all the cubs fans suffering the last thing you wanna do to their egos is realize they got swindled out of a trade.

      • cubs7691 12 months ago

        Bonefacio was gone after this year. We just got another lefty and we have Wright as well. Russel is also up for arb. next year. Made sense

    • Defiancy 12 months ago

      Cubs and Braves have had some pretty good trades as of late. I think Wren and Theo must just like each other or something

    • Utley's Knees 12 months ago

      Still feel that way about your return?

  9. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 12 months ago

    I cant refresh the page fast enough to catch all these trades!!!!

  10. Benjamin Rush 12 months ago

    This deadline had a weird fantasy baseball feel.

  11. Trock 12 months ago

    Wonder what we are getting back. Not familiar with Braves system but hopefully it is something half way decent!

    • Badamike 12 months ago

      Has to be… Theo was asking alot for Bonifacio… and a good lefty reliever on top of it has to return some decency.

      • Gil Reese 12 months ago

        dont bet getting anything but low tier players from braves thats how they work.

    • Micah Smith 12 months ago

      I’m curious as well, but from the Braves fan perspective I’d like to know who we gave up!

    • inkstainedscribe 12 months ago

      Bossman Jr!

    • CaptainAmerica 12 months ago

      Hopefully their #5 prospect, Hursh AA RHP – cross your fingers.

    • CaptainAmerica 12 months ago

      Hopefully their #5 prospect, Hursh AA RHP – cross your fingers.

  12. sascoach2003 12 months ago

    Maddening last few minutes of trade deadline. Somebody’s playing Baseball Mogul lol

  13. Adenhart 12 months ago

    Now out of nowhere, Cole Hamels traded… .. It might happen.. not too sure.

  14. ray_derek 12 months ago

    Glad the Cubs got something for Bonifacio, I liked Russell a lot though. Solid pickups for Atlanta, Emilio should get aging time in CF as well. Upton shouldn’t be in any lineup.

    • Gary Graf 12 months ago

      neither should LaStella, so I hope he gets some time at 2B

      • Me 12 months ago

        La Stella has been hitting .320 since June 28th with an OPS over .800 and has a .311 BA for July. Not a La Stella fan eh? He’s been one of the better hitters in the Braves lineup and the 2nd best hitter for July. Other than a 10 day period he’s hit VERY well in MLB this year and has been one of the top rookie position players in the majors.
        Now BJ Upton…yes. BJ should not get a start against a left hander again actually.

        • Gary Graf 12 months ago

          Batting Average is all LaStella brings. He has no power, average speed, and average fielding. The Braves could hit for better average. That’s for sure, but I’d rather see a speedster/leadoff type at second.

          • Me 12 months ago

            Then I guess you hate Craig Counsell types. Because that is what he is. Limited ability but can make the best of his ability.
            If we extrapolate his doubles and RBIs, he’d be in the top 10 for 2nd basemen offensively however. It’s not like he’s a scrub.

          • Gary Graf 12 months ago

            No, I loved Craig Counsell. He could field and was clutch.

        • Gary Graf 12 months ago

          Batting Average is all LaStella brings. He has no power, average speed, and average fielding. The Braves could hit for better average. That’s for sure, but I’d rather see a speedster/leadoff type at second.

  15. wmgh 12 months ago

    can we see baez now please? we’ve been patient….

  16. Adenhart 12 months ago

    Nothing from the Phillies? Extremely weird. They should’ve topped the Red Sox…

  17. LordOfTheSwings 12 months ago

    As long as it’s not Betancourt…

  18. coreybishop 12 months ago

    Minor league catcher…my heart is stopping… THIS BETTER NOT BE BETHANCOURT!!!!!!

  19. coreybishop 12 months ago

    Minor league catcher…my heart is stopping… THIS BETTER NOT BE BETHANCOURT!!!!!!

  20. meep 12 months ago

    so at the trade deadline cubs are one of the few teams to make the most trades.

  21. bravo_84 12 months ago

    Here’s hoping that minor league catcher is Caratini and not Bethancourt.

    • Ace2095 12 months ago

      It’s not Bethancourt so your good

      • bravo_84 12 months ago

        I’ll take it. I really like Russell, and he’s more than just a rental so I’d say Baltimore got duped.

    • DippityDoo 12 months ago

      Caratini is pretty solid as well. Good scouting reports on his catching this year.

      • bravo_84 12 months ago

        He’s a great prospect, but a fair trade in my opinion. Nobody will be confusing his defense for Bethancourt’s.

        • DippityDoo 12 months ago

          Agreed, but really impressed Cubs got a nice catching prospect for Russell. Fews years to develop but definitely address’ a need for the Cubs.

    • Andy Clouthier 12 months ago

      I can’t up vote on my phone, but you would’ve received one from me.

  22. Chris Turner 12 months ago

    we dangled the caratini and they bit!

    • Jason Inghram 12 months ago

      The sensible Cub fans knew we weren’t getting anything great at all dude is about what I expected now he will slide in our 20-30 range…WOW that’s a good system when you pick up a teams 7th best prospect & he doesn’t even make our top 20 or if anyone puts him in the top 20 they’re nuts cuz this is defintely a guy I’m placing in the 25-30 range for sure..So possibly a back-up Catcher in the future,Catcher is only position we’re not loaded at well & 1st Base even tho Vogelbach gets attention as close to a top 100 prospect & MLB.COM’s #4 1st Base prospect but he isn’t even in our top 10 of prospects..Cubs now have 8 top 100 in the new MidSeason top 100 lists & 3 top 10 which is nuts in Bryant,Russell & Baez after the season Jorge Soler should be top 15

  23. LordOfTheSwings 12 months ago

    And, every Braves fan lets out a sigh of relief to find out it wasn’t Betancourt.

  24. coreybishop 12 months ago

    Anyone know the contract situations for Bonifacio and Russell?

    • Badamike 12 months ago

      Bonifacio is a FA after this year… No clue on Russell

      • Mo Vaughn 12 months ago

        Bonifacio is actually arbitration eiligible.

        • Badamike 12 months ago

          of course he is…. im always wrong

        • DippityDoo 12 months ago

          No he’ll be a free agent after the world series. This was his final year of eligibility for arbitration.

          • calicub 12 months ago

            That’s correct. Russell will be a FA after 2015.

    • Badamike 12 months ago

      Bonifacio is a FA after this year… No clue on Russell

    • Mo Vaughn 12 months ago

      Russell will be arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason, and Bonifacio will be arbitration eligible for the third time.

      • Yankees420 12 months ago

        Bonifacio has been through arb 3 times already. 2012 was with Miami, ’13 was the Blue Jays, ’14 was with the Royals. Don’t think Emilio is a super 2 player, so he should be a FA after this season.

  25. bigbadjohnny 12 months ago

    Victor Caritini cubs get

  26. Badamike 12 months ago

    Geeesh…. We just drafted a catcher this year.. the Swarback (spelling) kid

    • asovermann 12 months ago

      He’s already basically being slowly weened off of catcher, not one more much longer

    • Matt 12 months ago


    • BaseballBeisbol 12 months ago

      He projects as a corner outfielder though.

    • calicub 12 months ago

      Already playing all his time at DH and LF with a rare spot at catcher. Keeping him at Catcher would slow his development as his bat is already fast-tracking him.

  27. over101 12 months ago

    James “It is my life to give up inherited runners” Russell and Emilio “Overpay for my first week when I have an OPS of .621 since April 10th” Bonifacio.

    Sad teams overpay for such stuff.

    • Eric Mack 12 months ago

      Have you seen our bench players?

    • bravo_84 12 months ago

      Emilio is just a throw in that gives a little flexability, and Fredi insists on using his LH relievers for full innings anyway so there won’t be many inherited runners. Plus Caratini is a long way off.

  28. asovermann 12 months ago

    Caratini is a solid get for the Cubs. Switch hitting C, great on base skills so far

    • cubs7691 12 months ago

      Hes apparently the braves #8 prospect

      • asovermann 12 months ago

        #7 on, but he adds depth at the catcher spot with Zagunis and Remillard in the low minors. Easily should fit in the very back end of the Cubs top 20 lol.

  29. asovermann 12 months ago

    Caratini is a solid get for the Cubs. Switch hitting C, great on base skills so far

  30. Bravesfan22 12 months ago

    Great deal

  31. bigbadjohnny 12 months ago

    So the Cubs are Double Deep at all positions now in their farm system……just need pitching

    • AdamAE24 12 months ago

      Looks like you can trade for a whole staff at the deadline, so they really just need a few pitchers.

  32. cubsssss 12 months ago

    Does this mean we will finally see…Javier Baez? Or someone like Logan Watkins?

    • bigbadjohnny 12 months ago

      Watkins more likely….Baez is not on 40 man roster.

      • Theo can purchase the contract of Baez, but I don’t think he would. Needs to be done before tomorrow.

      • CaptainAmerica 12 months ago

        Doubt it. They just lost 2 from their 40 man, and it is time for Baez to play.

  33. bigbadjohnny 12 months ago

    The Senior Member on the Cubs roster now is Starlin Castro

  34. bigbadjohnny 12 months ago

    Cubs Farm System by position:
    C – Schwarber / Catilini
    1B – Vogelbach / Canderlario
    2B – Baez / Alcantara
    SS – Russell / Torres
    3B – Bryant / Olt
    LF – Jiminez / Hannermann
    CF – Almora / McKinney
    RF – Soler / Dunston Jr

    • DaCubsDaBears 12 months ago

      Cant wait until 2016.
      Been waiting since 1953, whats another couple years.

  35. davidinvirginia 12 months ago

    Good deal for the Cubs. Caratini has shown signs of having good strike zone judgement/patience at the plate so the Braves would have no use for him (they seem to despise hitters who are patient at the plate). Unless you’re the D’backs, the team dealing with the Braves comes out ahead every time.

    • Eric Mack 12 months ago

      Um, Houston didn’t come out ahead. Also, too early to tell if Cubs come out ahead. Braves aren’t in the same boat as Chicago, so we need now pieces. not one who may work out in 2-4 years.

      • diehardcubbie 12 months ago

        As a Cubs fan, it would be nice to be in that position some day …

    • TDKnies 12 months ago

      I’m curious as well. What trades have the Braves very obviously lost in the past few years?

      • NL_East_Rivalry 12 months ago

        Not many. Just a bunch of rentals that didn’t pan out. Braves have given away a number of prospects but no one they really needed to begin with.

        • TDKnies 12 months ago

          Definitely agreed on that. Aside from us getting the best of the Prado-Upton trade, I kinda feel like everyone’s walked away from our other trades disappointed.

      • Mike Query 12 months ago


  36. Scott Brewer 12 months ago

    nice deal braves

  37. Voeg 12 months ago

    Great deal for the braves. Bonifacio could step in and play CF for BJ and that should solidify the leadoff spot. However i think they will split time. But this is a good trade for the Braves and strengthens the team.

    • Eric Mack 12 months ago

      I don’t even think they will split time. I think it’s all BJ right now, he’s trending upward and they’re going to continue to play him in hopes of maximizing the investment.

      • Voeg 12 months ago

        I think his trending upward is a bit of a stretch, but he is playing better. It may not be a 50/50 split but it may be close. Bonifacio’s numbers in the leadoff spot are pretty good. He’s batting .288 in that spot this year.

        • Matt Talbert 12 months ago

          Really? That will seriously help. I think we robbed the Cubs.

  38. Brandon Paoni 12 months ago

    As a Cubs fan I gotta say I kinda like you Braves fans, this may be the first time I’ve read through a solid page of comments on MLBTR and not seen a single comment that made me want to rip my own hair out.

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