Cubs acquire Daniel Murphy in waiver trade from Nationals
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DETROIT — Daniel Murphy, a three-time All-Star and notorious Cub killer, was acquired Tuesday by the Cubs in a waiver trade from the Nationals, adding a left-handed bat to a struggling lineup for the stretch run.
The deal sends minor-league infielder Andruw Monasterio and a player to be named later or cash to the Nationals. Because the deal came after the July 31 non-waiver deadline, the Cubs had to win the claim after the Nats put Murphy on revocable waivers before a trade could be completed.
Murphy is signed through this season, with about $3.9 million left on his contract.
“We were certainly looking to jump-start the offense. Daniel Murphy has as good at-bats as anyone in the game,” team president Theo Epstein said.
The second baseman provides a strong left-handed bat for a team likely to face almost exclusively right-handed starting pitching over the final six weeks of the season. And he provides infield insurance against both third baseman Kris Bryant’s shoulder injury and shortstop Addison Russell’s deep hitting slump.
Cubs second baseman Javy Baez is an exceptional fielder at both short and third, providing potentially regular time at second for Murphy.
Maddon said he hasn’t figured out his new infield playing-time calculus yet but did say he planned to bat Murphy at or near the top of the order when he plays.
“Let him get his at-bats and set a good example for the rest of the hitters,” Maddon said. “That’s what we need. We’re good. We need examples. Zobrist has done a good job setting a good example and now you’ve got another guy. That’s two of the best professional hitters in the game right now.”
Murphy, 33, spent almost half the season on the disabled list but has hit .300 with a .341 on-base percentage and 15 extra-base hits since being activated in mid-June.
The postseason hero of the Mets 2015 World Series team, Murphy was 9-for-17 with four home runs and a double in the Mets’ four-game sweep of the Cubs in the National League Championship Series that year.
In the regular-season, he’s a career .325 hitter against the Cubs with nine home runs and a .919 OPS in 50 games — including 43-for-104 (.413) with seven homers and a 1.142 OPS in 28 games at at Wrigley Field.