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The Cubs unloading Maholm, Johnson, and Soto during trade deadline



Chicago Cubs hats & merchandiseThe Chicago Cubs have begun their fire sales.

On the eve of the Major League non-waiver trading deadline, the moves were finally made as expected. The Cubs, who will not make the play-offs this year, become the sellers in 2012.

Outfielder Reed Johnson and catcher Geovany Soto, who started last night’s contest against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field, were traded out of Chicago and were going to different directions.

Johnson, along with starting pitcher, Paul Maholm, was traded to the Atlanta Braves. In return, the Cubs get two minor-league pitchers, Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman. The Braves also received cash in the deal.

Maholm is the protagonist in this transaction as the Braves need to strengthen their starting rotation. His latest performance has made attention to teams needed some pitching aids; in his last six starts, he went 5-0 with a mere ERA of 1.02.

The 29-year-old left-hander was signed by the Chicago Cubs as free agent at the beginning of this year after a seven-year service with the Pittsburgh Pirates who drafted him in 2003. He finished this season with the Cubs with a 9-6 record and an ERA of 3.74, striking out 81 and walking 34 in 120 1/3 innings.

The Atlanta Braves will be the fourth team Johnson plays for in his 10-year major league career. After spending five years with the Toronto Blue Jays, the 35-year-old signed as free agent with the Cubs in 2008. He spent one year in between the times with Chicago for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010. The outfielder hit .296 with 18 home runs and 116 RBI in 361 games in four years with Chicago.

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Vizcaino and Chapman, received by the Cubs in the trade, are seen as top prospects.

Vizcaino, a 21-year-old right-handed reliever from Dominican Republic, signed with the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 2007 and was traded to the Braves in 2009. He has played minor-league ball for Lynchburg (A), Mississippi (AA), and Gwinnett (AAA) in 2011 and was inactive in 2012 after a season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Drafted in the 16th round by Atlanta in 2005, Chapman has been pitching as reliever for Gwinnett in 2012 with a record of 3-6, an ERA of 3.52 in 53 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old right-hander has spent six years in the minor league.

As reported, the Cubs and the Braves have initially agreed on a deal last week that would swap starting pitchers, Ryan Dempster to Atlanta and Randall Delgado to Chicago. However, it has ever been completed.

In the other deal, the Chicago Cubs sent Geovany Soto to the Texas Rangers Jacob Brigham, a right-handed minor for Jacob league pitcher.

Soto, 29, was drafted by Chicago in 2001 and made his first major-league appearance in 2005. He became the Cubs’ regular catcher from the year of 2008. In career, he hit .252 with 77 home runs and 264 RBI in 1,842 at bat.

Brighman is currently playing for Frisco in Double-A. Starting in 21 games this season, the 24-year-old right-hander was 5-5 with an ERA of 4.28 in 124 innings.

It seems that the fire sales have not yet completed from the Cubs. Names including Dempster, Matt Garza, and Alfonso Soriano have been mentioned in a few serious trade talks. They could be dealt before the deadline of trade ends today at 4pm EDT.



By: Patrick Au Yeung Chicago Cubs Correspondent
Twitter - @Cubs_sportsdesk