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Cubs trade James Russell, Emilio Bonifacio to Braves for Victor Caratini

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James Russell
James Russell

The Chicago Cubs traded pitcher James Russell and utility player Emilio Bonifacio to the Atlanta Braves today. In exchange, the Cubs receive catching prospect Victor Caratini. Here's a report:

Victor Caratini, C: The Braves drafted Caratini in the second round in 2013, from Miami Dade Junior College in Florida. He hit a solid .290/.415/.430 with 39 walks and 49 strikeouts in 200 at-bats for Danville in the Appalachian League last summer, then moved up to Rome in the Low-A South Atlantic League for 2014 and has hit .279/.352/.406 with 34 walks and 59 strikeouts in 323 at-bats.

Caratini is a switch-hitter, listed at 6-0, 195, born August 17, 1993. Mainly a third baseman in college, he's been moved behind the plate at Rome and has held his own. He's thrown out 30% of runners while giving up just five errors and six passed balls in 70 games. He has a strong throwing arm and while he needs more experience, the conversion looks like it will work at this point. Mike Newman at Rotoscouting has this detailed report, pointing out Caratini's need for more polish with his receiving skills and throwing mechanics, but that's to be expected at this point in his career. Offensively, he is renowned for excellent strike zone judgment, no doubt attractive to the Cubs. He hasn't fully tapped his power yet, but that may come in time.

ANALYSIS: I like this for the Cubs. Caratini is a solid prospect while Bonifacio and Russell are fungible assets.