In a truly out-of-left-field move, the Braves announced on Sunday afternoon that they had shipped Tommy La Stella to the Cubs in exchange for former Brave Arodys Vizcaino and international signing pool money
As many of you will remember, Vizcaino was originally signed by the Yankees, before being acquired by the Braves in 2009 in the Javier Vazquez trade. He played in Atlanta's system for three years, rising up prospect rankings before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012. Later that year, Atlanta shipped him to the Cubs along with Jaye Chapman in exchange for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson. Now, 30 months later, Vizcaino is back.
La Stella, who hit the ground running upon his call up, tailed off badly as the 2014 season progressed. He ended up posting a -0.3 bWAR mark when all was said and done. For most of the final two months of the season, he was platooned with the similarly-light-hitting Phil Gosselin.
The real get in this trade was the international bonus pool money. According to Mark Bowman, Atlanta will gain about $830,000 in international bonus pool money out of the trade. That allows Atlanta to leverage their strength in international scouting, a strength that should only have improved with the overhaul of Atlanta's scouting department this offseason.
I was a huge fan of La Stella's, but this trade makes a ton of sense. It clears a path for Jose Peraza to take over full time duties at second base for Atlanta (though it may not happen immediately), it provides more money to play with in scouting, and it gives Roger McDowell another power arm to use in the bullpen. Vizcaino's health remains a big question mark, but even if he doesn't pan out, Atlanta should be able to use the international pool money to great effect.