June 12, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Reed Johnson (5) hits a single against the Detroit Tigers during the eighth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Braves Acquire Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm From Cubs; Trade Deadline Tuesday Afternoon

Who might the Braves acquire before the July 31 deadline?

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56 Total Updates since June 27, 2012
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MLB Trade Rumors: Braves Continue Evaluating Options Before Deadline Hits

The Atlanta Braves made one substantial trade on Monday night, acquiring outfielder Reed Johnson and left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm in exchange for Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman. The deal was a very good one for the Braves, especially when you consider it filled their biggest need off the bench and added a capable back-end starter.

Atlanta is happy with their move, but that does not mean they will sit back on Tuesday as the trade deadline nears. With all non-waiver trades required to go through by 4 p.m. EST, expect general manager Frank Wren to keep making phone calls throughout the afternoon.

The Braves could benefit by adding a quality right-handed reliever to the back their bullpen. Craig Kimbrel has been phenomenal this season, but getting the ball to him in the 9th inning hasn't always been easy.

Jonny Venters has been inconsistent all year. Chad Durbin seems to be all-or-nothing every time he takes the mound. Luis Avilan isn't a bad pitcher, but he really should only be pitching against left-handed batters due to his splits. The same goes for current Triple-A pitcher Cory Gearrin against righties. Jair Jurrjens isn't a viable option except in mop-up duties.

There are always relievers on the trade market this time of year. The Braves will not overpay for one, but just because they made one deal last night doesn't mean they are necessarily done for good.

Atlanta could also look to acquire a left-handed pinch-hitter for the bench given Eric Hinske's struggles this season.

For more on the Braves, check out Talking Chop.

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MLB Trade Rumors Update: Arodys Vizcaino And Jay Chapman Going To Chicago

Late on Monday evening it was reported that the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs were involved in a trade that would send Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm to Atlanta.

Now, according to Mark Bowman, Braves beat writer for MLB.com, we now know who the Braves sent to Chicago to get Johnson and Maholm:

Vizcaino is a Braves top relief prospect but has been plagued with constant problems with his arm. During spring training the 21-year-old right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery. Jay Chapman is a 25-year-old relief pitcher who played for the Gwinnett Braves, Atlanta's Triple-A affiliate.

For more on the Braves head over to Talking Chop. For news around the Major Leagues go visit Baseball Nation, and visit MLB Daily Dish for trade rumors from around Major League Baseball.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Braves Acquire Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm From Cubs

The Atlanta Braves saw one earlier deal with the Chicago Cubs fall apart, but it appears they have acquired outfielder Reed Johnson and left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm. The Braves had been looking for a bench bat and starting pitcher.

No word on which prospects will be headed to Chicago in exchange for the two. It is believed at this time that none of Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado, Mike Minor and Sean Gilmartin will be included. Delgado was originally set to be traded for Ryan Dempster last week.

Here is FOX Sports with the confirmation.

Johnson will be a great addition to the Braves bench. He is a right-handed outfielder with a career .313 batting average and .838 OPS against lefties, who have given Atlanta problems all season.

Maholm is a solid option at the back of the rotation. He has been on a roll lately, pitching to the tune of a perfect 5-0 record and 1.03 ERA since June 29. He has been prone to home run balls this season, but a move to spacious Turner Field should help greatly.

More to come shortly.

For more on the Braves, check out Talking Chop.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Braves Interested In Tampa Bay Rays Pitcher James Shields

After striking out on Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, the Atlanta Braves are looking for someone to help them in the final stages of the regular season. That could come in the form of Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields, who despite struggling as of late, could still be a pitcher to help sure up the rotation.

According to Fox Sports writer Ken Rosenthal, Shields is fielding interest from several teams including the Braves. While the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim appear to be the team with the most interest in Shields, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals all have varying levels of interest.

If the Braves do acquire Shields, they certainly hope that his bad luck leaves as he leaves Tampa Bay. In his last seven starts, Shields is pitching with a 6.15 ERA. If he is able to get off the run of bad luck if he is traded, he will certainly be an asset for any team.

For more on the Atlanta Braves head over to Talking Chop. For more news and notes from Major League Baseball head over to Baseball Nation.

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Braves not trading for Dempster a good thing

The Braves saved themselves from one bad deal. Now it's time to make a big splash.

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Ryan Dempster Trade: Pitcher Still Hopes To Land With Dodgers

Atlanta fans are probably feeling more nervous now. According to an article by MLB.com's Mark Bowman, Dempster is reportedly interested in possibly going to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bowman reported that in an interview with Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal that Dempster has said that his preferred destination is Los Angeles.

Dempster is holding out hope that he will eventually be traded to the Dodgers. The Cubs and Dodgers were unable to reach an agreement when they discussed a potential trade earlier this month. Dempster has told reporters over the past few weeks that his first preference would be to play for the Dodgers. The Braves are believed to be second on his wish list.

Now it is important to mention that Dempster has not yet rejected this trade so there is the possibility that the trade to Atlanta could still go through. The Braves are still looking for someone to help chase down the first-place Washington Nationals, but if they fail to land Dempster the Braves could turn their attention to Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke.

However, given what the Brewers could be asking for to get Greinke, it could make more sense for the Braves to wait for the offseason to try and sign him via free agency.

Read more on the Braves at Talking Chop and SB Nation Atlanta. Head over to Baseball Nation for news and analysis around Major League Baseball.

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Atlanta Braves Acquire Shortstop Paul Janish From Reds

The Atlanta Braves were known to be in the market for a stopgap shortstop as Andrelton Simmons recovers from a broken bone in his pinky finger. Various names had been suggested, but it appears the club settled for Reds shortstop Paul Janish. He is currently playing in Triple-A.

Janish is 29 years old and hit .214/.259/.262 with Cincinnati last year, so it's doubtful that Atlanta plans on using him as an occasional starter alongside Martin Prado and/or Jack Wilson.

As for Todd Redmond, he is currently in his sixth season with the Braves' minor league affiliates. While he has strong numbers across the board (6-6, 3.58 ERA, 8.18K/9 and 2.38 BB/9) he projects to be a middle reliever at the most.

This really isn't too substantial of a move for Atlanta. They acquire depth at the shortstop position, and a player who can hold his own in the field. Redmond is a great teammate and deserves a chance, but there simply isn't room for him with the Braves.

For more on the club, check out Talking Chop.

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Looking Back (And Forward) On The Atlanta Braves' 2012 Season Thus Far

Examining which players have been the team MVPs at the midway point. And what's all this talk of a potential trade before the deadline?

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MLB Trade Rumors: Braves, Orioles Reported Leaders To Land Zack Greinke

There is no doubt that the Atlanta Braves want to land Zack Greinke before the July 31 trade deadline, but plenty of other clubs around the league will also bid to land the talented right-handed pitcher. The Brewers know this, and they will not sell Greinke off for cheap due to the deep market for starting pitching.

According to this latest report from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Braves and Orioles are considered the leaders in the Greinke sweepstakes as of today.

The Baltimore Orioles will make a run at Brewers star Zack Greinke, sources say, and some now believe the Orioles and Atlanta Braves loom as the most likely to land Greinke in trade.

Of course, it's very early, so early Greinke isn't even known to be available yet. The Brewers were said by a source likely to wait to see how they fair against division competition in the games following the All-Star break before deciding whether to sell.

It would seem odd for Milwaukee to hang onto Greinke unless they go on an incredibly hot stretch from now until the days leading up to the deadline. Greinke will become a free agent at the end of the season, and their reported contract discussions have gone nowhere.

Combine that with the new collective bargaining agreement that no longer grants draft pick compensation for free agents, and it's easy to see why the Brewers would be ready to sell high. After tossing 108 innings this season, Greinke sits at 9-2 with an ERA of 3.08 and NL-best FIP of 2.38. He has 106 strikeouts and walked just 28 batters.

We'll keep an eye on any and all developments in the coming weeks, but until then expect to hear the Braves' name linked to most Greinke rumors. They have the prospects and money to get a deal done, but they're going to get some stiff competition from clubs around the league.

For more on the Braves, check out Talking Chop.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Braves Must Consider Financial Aspects With Zack Greinke

The Braves have some very big decisions to make in the coming weeks.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Braves Send Top Scout To Watch Zack Greinke Pitch

The Atlanta Braves have a ton of interest in Milwaukee Brewers ace Zack Greinke, and the club has reportedly sent one of the top scouts to watch him pitch tonight. Greinke, who entered the night with a record of 9-2 and ERA of 2.82, is undoubtably the best pitching target available on the trade market.

The Braves have been resistant to deal their young pitchers in recent years, but general manager Frank Wren may be softening his stance on the no-trade policy. Here is the latest on the Greinke rumor mill.

The young arms Rosenthal mentions would presumably be Randall Delgado, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran. The Brewers have stated they would prefer prospects ready for the Major Leagues instead of guys a few years away, so there definitely appears to be a fit between the two clubs.

Nothing is imminent at this point, but the Braves are really taking an interest in Greinke. Atlanta typically tends to try and keep things close to the vest when trying to acquire a player, but that hasn't been the case in recent weeks.

For more on the Braves, check out Talking Chop.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Atlanta Braves Scout Mariners Pitcher Jason Vargas

The Atlanta Braves are making no effort to hide that they are looking into acquiring a starting pitcher (or two) before the July 31 trade deadline, and they've been linked to quite a few players in recent days. While Atlanta is reportedly interested in front-end starters such as Zack Greinke and Matt Garza, they've also been linked to a couple of guys who would fill in the back of the rotation.

Jason Vargas of the Mariners would fit into the mold of a No. 5 starter, and the Braves have recently been scouting him. Here is Jayson Stark with the latest.

The Braves continue their hunt for what one exec categorized as "an impact starting pitcher" -- but not necessarily the usual suspects. Their customary M.O. is not to shop for rent-a-players. So it makes sense that one starter they've scouted extensively is Seattle's Jason Vargas, who can't be a free agent until after next season.

I don't see a fit at all.

Vargas, 29, has an ERA of 4.54 in 2012 and career ERA of 4.53, both of which come in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field. His FIP, which negates the defense played behind him, is 5.04 this season and 4.50 for his career. That's also not very impressive.

Vargas doesn't walk many batters, but he doesn't strike many out, either. Other than eat innings -- he's on pace to pitch nearly 200 innings for the third straight season -- Vargas doesn't really do anything well.

Don't expect much more to come from this rumor unless Atlanta completely misses out on four or five of their other targets for the trade deadline.

For more on the Braves, check out Talking Chop.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Zack Greinke Sits Atop Atlanta Braves Wish List

The Atlanta Braves have struggled on the mound for most of the season, mostly due to youth and now an injury to Brandon Beachy. The club has been linked to various pitchers as potential trade targets in recent weeks, and today we learned that Brewers ace Zack Greinke sits atop the Braves' wish list for the July 31 trade deadline.

Greinke is one of the best pitchers in baseball right now -- arguably the best in the National League, too -- but he will become a free agent at the end of the season. Given his talent and that he is only 28 years old, you can bet he will be cashing in on his next contract.

Atlanta should have some money freed up with the departures of Chipper Jones and Derek Lowe after this season, and Tim Hudson will likely be gone after 2013. Even more could open up if Michael Bourn elects to go elsewhere in free agency this winter.

Here's a bit more on the Greinke rumors from MLB's Mark Bowman:

Barring a drastic change during this period, they will enter the All-Star break interested in the potential to land Milwaukee's Zack Greinke via a trade and then sign him before he would be eligible to hit the free agent market at the end of this season.

With Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson currently standing as the only reliable assets in their starting rotation, the Braves will likely make landing a starting pitcher a priority before the Trade Deadline. Greinke, Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster and Edinson Volquez would be among their potential targets.

But if the Braves reach a point where they are committed to land a starting pitcher they will target Greinke, who would be the top-of-the-rotation asset that could capably replace the injured Brandon Beachy and have the ability to compete in a postseason setting.

There is no denying that Greinke would provide a huge boost to the rotation, but the Braves would have to work out a contract extension before shelling over the required prospects to land the right-handed ace. One would expect Matt Cain's recent deal -- about $117 million over six years -- to be a starting point in the negotiations, and that's a very steep price to pay.

If healthy though, Greinke would likely be worth that (and more) for years to come.

For more on the Braves be sure to check out Talking Chop.

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Atlanta Braves Rumors: Scouts Reportedly Watch Francisco Liriano Pitch

We're a little more than a month away from the trade deadline (July 31), which means it's about that time of year when reports of teams scouting various players will start to fly in by the hour. The Atlanta Braves could definitely add a starting pitcher (or two) following the injury to Brandon Beachy, and there appear to be quite a few options on the table.

While many have linked the club to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza of the Cubs, a new name from a midwestern team has emerged: Francisco Liriano. Here is the report from Roto World.

Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com reports that the Braves were scouting Francisco Liriano during Monday's start against the White Sox.

It was a good one to see, as Liriano spun seven innings of one-run ball while allowing just four hits. Mackey notes that the Nationals also had scouts in attendance, but they were scouting Denard Span and possibly others. Liriano has posted five quality starts in six tries since rejoining the rotation and will be a popular trade target next month if he can keep it up.

Liriano, 28, was once a top-prospect with the Minnesota Twins, but arm injuries have held him back in recent seasons. His ERA of 5.30 is pretty ugly in a pitcher-friendly park, although his FIP of 4.18 indicates he's been a bit unlucky due to poor defense this year.

The biggest concern with the lefty is walks: he's averaging more than five per nine innings, which is bad.

It appears the Braves are simply doing their due diligence here by scouting him, but it will be a story to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. Liriano doesn't really appear to be a fit, but he might be worth a closer look should he continue his very recent success on the mound.

For more on the Braves be sure to check out Talking Chop.

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