Braves acquire Bonifacio and Russell
The Braves attempted to strength both their bullpen and bench by acquiring utility man Emilio Bonifacio and left-hander James Russell from the Cubs just before Thursday afternoon’s Trade Deadline. The Cubs will receive Minor League catcher Victor Caratini, who is regarded as an intriguing prospect with a high offensive upside.
The Braves will receive cash to account for the remaining salary owed to Bonifacio and Russell this year.
Bonifacio’s versatility should help the Braves anemic bench from both an offensive and defensive perspective. The 29-year-old veteran can play both the infield and outfield while assuming a role similar to the one he had when playing for Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez while they were both with the Marlins in 2009-10. He has hit .279 and stolen 14 bases in 298 plate appearances this year.
Russell gives the Braves the left-handed reliever they were seeking. But this season’s splits indicate he will not be utilized simply as left-handed specialist. The veteran southpaw has limited right-handed hitters to a .103 (6-for-58) batting average and .243 on-base percentage this year. Left-handed hitters have batted .295 (18-for-61) with a .358 on-base percentage against him.
In 316 career appearances, Russell has allowed left-handed hitters to bat .242 with a .276 on-base percentage.
Caratini taken in the second round of the 2013 Draft has hit .279 with five home runs and a .757 OPS in 87 games with Class A Rome this year. While there is some reason to wonder if he will remain a catcher, his offensive potential has not created much scrutiny.