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Cubs trade Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson to Braves

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer
Johnson heads to Atlanta along with Maholm. (Getty Images)

The Cubs have traded outfielder Reed Johnson and left-handed starting pitcher Paul Maholm to the Braves, the Cubs announced early Tuesday morning. In return, the Cubs get pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman

Word of the trade first started to circulate when those watching Monday night's game noticed Johnson was hugging teammates after being removed, as if he was saying bye. It turns out, he was. Maholm's involvement wasn't as transparent, since he wasn't pitching Monday.

Maholm, 30, is 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 81 strikeouts in 120 1/3 innings this season. He's been on fire of late, though, as he is 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his last seven starts.

Johnson, 35, is hitting .302/.355/.444 with three homers, 16 RBI and 23 runs scored in 183 plate appearances this season. He's been a great fourth-outfielder for the Cubs and can play all three outfield spots.

Johnson will likely fill the same role with the Braves, as they already have a stellar outfield in Martin Prado, Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward. Of course, Johnson could start in left field while Prado plays third base to occasionally spell the 40-year-old Chipper Jones.

As for Maholm, the Braves definitely need some help in the rotation behind Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Ben Sheets.

For the Cubs, Vizcaino is the big get, but he comes as a gamble. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery and hasn't pitched this season. He's also rated as a top 40 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America. The Cubs just have to hope he comes back strong from the surgery -- and most do these days. In 268 2/3 career minor-league innings, Vizcaino has a 2.91 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 279 strikeouts.

Chapman, 25, has a 3.52 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 53 2/3 relief innings for Triple-A Gwinnett this season.

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