The Atlanta Braves filled two needs with one trade Tuesday morning with the acquisitions of lefty reliever Will Ohman and reserve infielder Omar Infante from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for young right-handed reliever Jose Ascanio.
Ohman will be used as a lefty specialist and compliment fellow southpaw Royce Ring. The 30-year-old Ohman was 2-4 last season with a 4.95 ERA. He allowed 42 hits in 36.1 innings, 16 walks, and 33 strikeouts. Lefty hitters batted only .236 against Ohman in 72 at bats. He was much better away from Wrigley Field, posting a 1.45 ERA in 29 games on the road compared to an 8.66 ERA at home.
The Cubs first promoted Ohman in 2000. He made six appearances that season and then pitched in 11 games in 2001. Ohman was injured for a while and did not get back to complete his first full season in Chicago until 2005. He has pitched in 203 games over the last three season with 34 holds.
Ohman is under contract for $1.6 million dollars for the 2008 season.
Infante was just acquired by Chicago on November 12th from the Tigers in exchange for outfielder Jacque Jones. He is eligible for arbitration and made $1.3 million in 2007.
The soon-to-be 26-year-old Infante hit .271 with 2 home runs and 17 RBI last season for the Tigers. His best season was in 2004 when he hit .264 with 16 home runs and 55 RBI in 503 at bats.
Infante can play second, shortstop, third, and all three spots in the outfield. He provides the versatility the Braves were looking for in a veteran reserve off the bench. The Braves will have Infante under control for three more seasons.
Ascanio had a couple of stints with the Braves and was 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in 13 games. He allowed 17 hits in 16 innings, nine earned runs, six walks, and 13 strikeouts.
The native of Venezuela pitched in 44 games for Double-A Mississippi last season and was 2-2 with a 2.54 ERA. Ascanio saved 10 games and allowed 66 hits in 78 innings, 18 walks, and 71 strikeouts.
Ascanio will turn 23 next May.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can be heard on 680 the Fan in Atlanta and 105.5 the Fan in Macon. Email Bill at email@example.com.
Braves fill two spots with Tuesday's trade
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