Atlanta Braves Better After Trade Deadline Deals

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIAugust 1, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29:  Starting pitcher Paul Maholm #28 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on July 29, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves are better after the trade deadline than they were before.

More than a week before the deadline, the Braves thought they were about to acquire starting pitcher Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs.

After reports from ESPN's Keith Law and CBS Sports' Jon Heyman stating that the Braves and Cubs agreed on the deal, Dempster chose to "weigh his options" before accepting.

Ultimately, the Braves rightly moved on as Dempster, as it was reported wanted to go to the Dodgers, which never happened.

So, what did the Braves do?

They continued to work with the Cubs and acquired left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson for pitching prospects Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.

Johnson is a free agent after this year, while Maholm has a team option for 2013. Both helped fill major needs as the Braves make a playoff run.

With the struggles of Jair Jurrjens, Randall Delgado and Mike Minor, the Braves were able to acquire a left-handed starter in Maholm that gives them more options for the rotation.

Maholm can be a good long-reliever in the bullpen if the Kris Medlen experiment works in the starting rotation, or he can be the fifth starter if Jurrjens, Delgado and Minor continue to struggle, although Minor has improved over his last few starts.

The former Cubs' pitcher is 9-6 on the year with a 3.74 ERA and 81 strikeouts. Even more, he's allowed one run or less in his last six starts, having won five of them.

Johnson provides a good bat off the bench, and occasional starts in the outfield when Jason Heyward, Martin Prado or Michael Bourn need a break.

He is batting .302 with three home runs and 16 RBI.

So, while the Braves didn't get Dempster, Zack Greinke, Josh Johnson or any one of the number of front-line starters they were seeking, they still made out pretty well.

The best thing about the more low-key trade is the Braves didn't have to give up Julio Teheran, which is what it would've cost to get Greinke. They also have Delgado and Minor, which is a plus, even though they've struggled.

It may not have been sexy, but I think it will work.

At the very least, it allows Medlen to finally get his chance in the rotation.