Cubs trade for Astros second baseman

Chicago Cubs catcher Martin Maldonaldo has been reportedly traded to the Houston Astros for utility-man Tony Kemp hours before the Major League Baseball trade deadline. Combined between the Royals and Cubs, Maldonado has batted.217 (54-for-249) with 15 doubles, six home runs and 17 RBI in 78 games this season. The left-handed hitter turned in his strongest season to date previous year when he hit.263 (67-for-255) with 15 doubles, six home runs, a.351 on-base percentage and.392 slugging percentage, good for a.743 OPS, in 97 games with the Astros, posting a similar.268 batting average vs. left-handed pitchers and a.261 batting average vs. right-handed pitching.

The Cubs picked up Maldonado for Mike Montgomery hastily when Willson Contreras went on the IL a couple weeks ago with a foot issue, and, although they talked about carrying three catchers the rest of the way, the allure of freeing up some cash and maybe a modest return was too much. After signing a one-year, $2.5 million deal with Kansas City, he started in place of Salvador Perez, who is out for the year while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

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The Cubs might not be done dealing. The Cubs had been shopping Maldonado and it was reported last week that Houston was an interested party, so this comes as no surprise. Houston's backup catcher Max Stassi is hitting.167. In 186 plate appearances this season, Kemp is batting.227 with a.306 wOBA and 94 wRC+ and an 85.1% contact rate (MLB average = 76%).

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