Braves strike deal less than hour before Deadline

Braves strike deal less than hour before Deadline

LOS ANGELES -- Over the past couple of weeks, the Braves had separate discussions with the Cubs regarding utility man Emilio Bonifacio and left-handed reliever James Russell. But they hadn't discussed putting the two in the same deal until the waning moments before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Less than an hour before Thursday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, the Braves and Cubs began the discussions that led to Bonifacio and Russell being sent to Atlanta in exchange for Minor League catcher Victor Caratini.

While the Braves have long had interest in Bonifacio, they had assumed their latest bid to get him faded on Wednesday night when the versatile utility man was not in the Cubs' lineup, which is often an indicator that a club has reached a deal to send a player elsewhere.

"[The deal] really came together in the last 40 minutes of the Deadline," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "I really didn't anticipate that. We all read the accounts last night of Bonifacio not playing, and we thought he'd be traded last night."

E-mail issues at Turner Field further complicated the completion of this trade, which was revealed approximately 10 minutes after the Deadline had passed.

"We couldn't get the information back and forth," Wren said. "So, it was a little bit of a panic."

With Russell, the Braves gained an experienced reliever who this year has had more trouble against left-handed hitters than right-handers. Bonifacio should upgrade a weak Atlanta bench with his versatility, speed and capability as a pinch-hitter.

Wren said he will continue to explore ways to improve his club in August, when trades can be made for players who have passed through waivers.

"[The schedule] will be pretty rough over the past month," Wren said. "So we'll continue to look at ways to improve and make our team better."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.