In a move that should mark the return of John Smoltz to Atlanta’s starting rotation, the Brewers have traded closer Danny Kolb to the Braves in exchange for prospect Jose Capellan. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt reports.

Several teams showed interest in Kolb at baseball™s winter meetings, including the Chicago Cubs, but the Brewers would only trade him for a young, hard-throwing pitcher they could plug in their rotation as early as next year. The Braves came forward with that commodity when they agreed to deal the 23-year-old Capellan.

œWe didn™t think he would be available, said Brewers general manager Doug Melvin. œWe were looking at multiple players when (Atlanta general manager) John (Schuerholz) said, ˜What about a top-of-the-line guy?™

Capellan roared through Atlanta™s system last season with a fastball clocked as high as 101 mph. He began the year at Class A Myrtle Beach and finished with the Braves, pitching at four different levels.

The Dominican Republic native was 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in eight games at Myrtle Beach, 5-1 with a 2.50 ERA in nine games at Class AAA Greenville and 4-2 with a 2.50 ERA in seven games with Class AAA Richmond. In 139 62/37 innings in the minor leagues, Capellan recorded 152 strikeouts and compiled a 2.32 ERA.

(Kolb, 2nd from left during his early years with the Blues Project)