Obviously this trade became much bigger as the evening went on. See below for updates.

In tonight’s game, Reed Johnson was pulled in the 5th inning (of a blowout), and was spotted shaking hands with his teammates in such a way as to suggest that he’d been traded.

We don’t know much of anything quite yet – nothing is confirmed – but I’ll updating as the details come out.

Johnson has value as a bench bat to just about any playoff contender, but he has even more value to the Cubs as an included piece in a bigger deal. We’ll see if this is a one-off type move, or if Johnson is part of a bigger deal.

If Reed has indeed been dealt, his presence will be missed. He’s a great teammate, and a 100% effort guy. But dealing him is the right move.

UPDATE: Bruce Levine reports that this is, indeed, probably a trade, and up to four teams submitted offers today. Pittsburgh and Detroit were among the suitors. That report, by the way, suggests this is a one-off deal, rather than a larger trade.

UPDATE 2 (at 9:10pm CT): Dave Kaplan says Johnson is meeting with Cubs’ management right now, which confirms there’s a trade.

UPDATE 3 (at 9:12pm CT): Reed was prophetic in his blog just three days ago, writing, “If I get a call from Theo or Jed, I’d be like oh, darn, there’s four, five days before the Trade Deadline, this is probably not about what gardener do you use in the Chicago area. If you get a phone call from them, you want to pick it up, especially at this time of year.”

UPDATE 4 (at 9:17pm CT): I’m not saying there’s any relationship here, but Brett Jackson was just pulled mid-game from the Iowa Cubs game. Injury? Call-up? Trade? Nothing? I honestly have no idea.

UPDATE 5 (at 9:18pm CT): Bob Nightengale notes – without confirming a trade – that Tigers’ pitching prospect Thomas Collier was just pulled from his start after three innings. Collier, 22, is still in Low A, but putting up solid numbers, and was a 2011 22nd rounder (so, the low level isn’t just a matter of him being a non-prospect). Don’t go nuts just yet. This is only one guy’s theory based on a pitcher being pulled.

UPDATE 6 (at 9:38pm CT): Just so it’s here, too, the Geovany Soto trade and this one are separate deals, apparently.

UPDATE 7 (at 9:43pm CT): The Twitter is playing a hilarious game where various sources say where he HASN’T been traded. So far, it appears that he isn’t going to Pittsburgh, Detroit, or Los Angeles (Dodgers).

UPDATE 8 (at 9:54pm CT): Multiple reports now say this is a combo deal with Johnson and *PAUL MAHOLM* going to the Braves. The implications of such a trade are huge, and will take some time to susse out.

UPDATE 9 (at 10:04pm CT): Jerry Crasnick says the Cubs are getting two minor league pitchers, but they aren’t in the Teheran-Gilmartin-Delgado-Minor group. The Braves still have many great prospects beyond that, so don’t get worried yet. Maholm had real value.

UPDATE 10 (at 10:30pm CT): Jerry Crasnick says one pitcher in the deal is Jaye Chapman, a 25-year-old reliever with huge K numbers at AAA, but decently-high walk numbers as well.

UPDATE 11 (at 10:37pm CT): YES. Ken Rosenthal says the other pitcher in the deal is prospect Arodys Vizcaino, who is currently out after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this year. Obviously that part isn’t good, but that’s how the Cubs could get him in a deal like this – before the surgery, he was a big-time prospect. He’s just 21, and before the year, was a top 50 prospect in all of baseball. EEeeeeeeh!

UPDATE 12 (at 10:34pm CT): OK, I’m leaving the updates on this post where they are, while I move on to the crazy Matt Garza rumors that are flying. I’ll have more on Vizcaino and Chapman later today/tomorrow.

  • TheJDawg

    Reds heavy on Garza.. interesting

  • atfinch

    Vizcaino the other pitcher from ATL? Arodys Vizcaino?

  • atfinch

    Arodys Vizcaino – 21 year old and #40 overall prospect prior to 2012 (baseball america)

  • Dumpgobbler

    Looks like we won this deal.

  • ferrets_bueller

    I’m stoked if we got Vizcaino.

  • atfinch

    oh. Vizcaino had Tommy John surgery this spring. bummer again.

  • dudeski

    wow. i love theo and jed. hope we still get something of value for demp

  • TKO

    Hopefully Chapman is not the main piece of this deal.

  • Austin

    That is a hell of trade if Vizcaino is indeed in it, will be in the top 3 in the Cubs season as he is in the Braves.

  • Twiz

    looks like vizcaino

  • cubs4life

    well if chapman is the first pitcher from atlanta, im not impressed, id rather see a couple starters rather than a AAA reliever.

  • Internet Random

    Garza and Sveum to Reds for Dusty Baker.

  • North Side Irish

    Rehabbing from TJS, but he was the #2 prospect in their system and basically untouchable last season in trade talks…

  • ChiTown

    Awesome pick up for the Cubs!!

  • Mike

    Crasnick tweeted Vizcaino!!

  • atfinch

    Brett – just saw your tweet – are you that excited even though he had Tommy John this Spring? I’m not so excited…

  • MightyBear

    Theo seems to like dealing with Wren and Jockety.

  • Twinkletoez

    If they got Vizcaino that is very risky but could pay off huge

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    wow the maholm/johnson trade doesnt seem like a good return

    • ferrets_bueller

      how so? A 4th OF and an average SP for a potential lights out pair of young relievers?

      • Twinkletoez

        I think the cubs will put Arodys Vizcaino back as a starter

      • Earl Cunningham

        exactly, trading a 4/5 starter isn’t much of a risk for the potential reward of Vizcaino. Love it.

  • calicubsfan007

    ESPN said that Soto was traded to the Rangers. I know you mention this, but it didn’t seem like you were sure of it.

  • TheJDawg

    Are we really getting excited about obtaining a pitcher who had TJS in the spring? really?

    • dudeski

      TJS isn’t that big of a deal, nowadays. he’s a beast when healthy. #2 prospect before the injury

      • TheJDawg

        Hoping for the best, as a Cubs fan, expecting the worst…

    • ferrets_bueller

      Yes. Vizcaino’s stuff is absolutely nasty. One of my top braves prospects, TJS be damned.

    • willis

      Yes, people are getting excited. Not sure why. I get he’s a big risk/big reward guy, but the Cubs just traded an inning eating effective, fairly young lefty starter for a meh reliever and a huge question mark. Color me underwhelmed.

    • Drew7

      This isnt 1985. Players come back to full strength all the time after TJS. Top 50 last year for a 4th OF and Maholm? Squeal…

  • atfinch

    Not sure I love this trade. I know Vizcaino is young still but couldn’t the Cubs get a better 2nd guy than a 24 soon to be 25 year old who at very best may be an 8th inning guy?

  • Jeremy

    Report on Chapman
    Reliever Jaye Chapman is a guy with little left to prove in the minors after a strong 2011 season. Chapman started out the year dominating Double-A hitters before an early-May promotion to Triple-A. Chapman continued his success at the highest level in the minors and now finds himself knocking on the door for a major league job.

    Chapman put together a career-best season last year. He made nine appearances in Double-A, going 1-0 with two saves to go with a 0.64 ERA and 0.71 WHIP in 14 innings. In Triple-A, he made 43 appearances, throwing 54.1 innings and going 2-3 with two saves along with a 2.98 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.

    Between the two levels, Chapman posted some impressive per-nine innings ratios, such as 5.9 hits allowed, 10.1 strikeouts and 0.8 homers allowed.

    While Chapman doesn’t have the potential to be a setup man, the right-hander could be a solid middle reliever capable of occasionally giving his team multiple innings. The fact that he was added to the 40-man roster only increases his chances of getting called up this year.

    • calicubsfan007

      @Jeremy: Are you saying that he could be a huge asset to a somewhat suspect Cubs’ bullpen?

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    if the center piece of maholm/johnson trade is a 25 yr old relief prospect then the cubs shuld be ticked off on how they mess that up

  • TonyP

    Something to get excited about

  • http://Yes Dude

    Not liking this trade at all.

  • Matt

    As I’ve not heard of any of these guys so far, time to start throwing around major league quotes.

    Board Member 1: I’ve never heard of half of these guys and the ones I do know are way past their prime.
    Charlie Donovan: Most of these guys never had a prime.
    Rachel Phelps: The fact is we lost our two best players to free agency. We haven’t won a pennant in over thirty-five years, we haven’t placed higher than fourth in the last fifteen. Obviously it’s time for some changes.
    Board Member 2: This guy here is dead!
    Rachel Phelps: Cross him off, then!

    • calicubsfan007

      Don’t move us to Miami Rachel Phelps!!!! (;

  • anotherjp

    Wow… Vizcaino is a huge get for the Cubs. TJ is not an issue anymore- in fact, Jacob Brigham also had the surgery in 2008. He can get with Ben Wells and they can rehab together I guess.

  • North Side Irish

    This trade is all about the upside. If Vizcaino comes back healthy, he’s pretty easily the #1 SP prospect in the Cubs system. Nice return for two guys who didn’t figure into the future plans.

    If he doesn’t come back healthy, the long-term plan really wasn’t impacted much.

  • Matt Emigh

    Hey for all the people who think this trade is bad just remember this. Plenty of people come back from tommy john and are still awesome. Case and point is Jarrod Parker in Oakland.

    • Austin

      Also Stephen Strausberg anyone? Guy came back in no time at all after TJS

    • djriz

      And how about that Strasburg guy, He came back pretty good.