I can’t remember a trade deadline as eventful as the one that just past. Good luck to all the analysts trying to process (with the exception of Phillies watchers).
Ruben Amaro, pit crew chief. “One more lap, boys. One more!” pic.twitter.com/yMZq7RiUgn
— Chris Sprow (@SprowESPN) July 31, 2014
The Cubs only made one move today, acquiring Victor Caratini and Cash Considerations (UPDATE: Gordo saying $1mm to the Braves, contrary to earlier report) for Emilio Bonifacio and James Russell. This one apparently went down to the wire.
Hoyer said there were 6 teams in on Bonifacio. Atl offered the best prospect when they threw in Russell who is not a free agent at years end
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) July 31, 2014
Caratini is a switch-hitter who was drafted by the Braves in the second round last year, and was considered the sixth-best prospect in the system by Baseball America as of a few weeks ago. He’s 6’1″, 205 lbs and converted to catcher after being drafted as a third baseman. BA had this to say about the positional switch:
Caratini has played catcher three times as often as third base this season, and while he ranks in the bottom half of South Atlantic League backstops in terms of throwing out basestealers (27 percent), his bat has not suffered for the conversion from the hot corner. …. Caratini caught sporadically in junior college, but a lack of agility coupled with a strong arm made him a natural conversion candidate in pro ball.
His career minor league line now stands at .283/.377/.415 with 17.7% strikeouts and 11.9% walks. Catcher development is a notoriously long process, so it will be a few years until he sniffs the majors.
Here’s his pre-draft scouting report, again per BA:
Caratini attended the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and spent his freshman year at Southern, though he was ineligible. He transferred to Miami Dade and helped the Sharks to the Florida state juco tournament. He was recruited as a third baseman and brings a sound lefthanded bat, hitting .377/.467/.549 this season and showing consistent gap power. Caratini has good hands that work at the plate and in the field, and he has improved his stock by playing more at catcher. If he goes out in the first five rounds, it will be as a backstop. At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, he has a strong enough build for the spot and his good hands have helped him make the transition. He has above-average arm strength and has proved a quick learner on the fundamentals of catching. He could be drafted as high as the third round.
The Cubs system is distinctly lacking in catcher depth, so it seems like a nice pickup. Catching is a difficult thing for laymen to evaluate though, taking someone else’s word for it is a must. That said, it’s hard to complain, given that Bonifacio was a last minute addition to the roster who wasn’t serving much of a purpose, and Russell is more or less interchangeable with Wesley Wright.
With the loss of Jeff Samardzija and now Russell, Brian Schlitter is on notice. The Cubs’ staff is increasingly at odds with the House of David.