Atlanta Braves trade Tommy La Stella to Chicago Cubs for Arodys Vizcaino


On Sunday afternoon, the Atlanta Braves executed a trade that could have far-reaching implications. The team elected to ship second baseman Tommy La Stella to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for former Braves prospect and current Chicago Cubs right-hander Arodys Vizcaino. In addition, the Braves have acquired additional money to use on international signings in the future.

It isn’t a shock to see La Stella traded given the progress of long-term second base prospect Jose Peraza, but this move is jarring because of the presence of Vizcaino. Atlanta used the 24-year-old Vizcaino as trade bait in the deal to acquire Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson back in 2012, and the talented right-hander has battled injury issues throughout his professional tenure. Still, Vizcaino remains very young, and he did manage to make his MLB debut in 2014 as a short-term member of the Chicago bullpen.

As for Tommy La Stella, he is seen as a low-upside prospect given his lack of power. There is an argument that La Stella has a useful place somewhere given his ability to get on base (.328 OBP in the Majors have exceeding .400 in the minors), but the 25-year-old posted a .317 slugging percentage over 360 MLB plate appearances, and that isn’t encouraging for a player with average defensive capabilities at a non-premium position.

The Atlanta Braves continue to strengthen their scouting department, particularly on the international side, under John Hart, and this appears to be another instance of that. With all things equal, this deal would be rather uninspiring, but armed with some additional flexibility in spending (approximately $830,000, according to reports), this trade could be worthwhile in the long-term, and Vizcaino is a player that Atlanta has always valued despite his long injury problems.

Farewell, Tommy La Stella. We hardly knew ye.