The Cubs have acquired infielder Daniel Murphy from the Nationals for minor-league infielder Andruw Monasterio and cash or a player to be named later, as The Athletic’s Robert Murray and Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported on Tuesday:
sources: nats get infielder Andruw Monasterio and cash or ptbnl for Murphy— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 21, 2018
The 33-year-old Murphy, who finished second in NL MVP voting in 2016 and had been a Silver Slugger for each of the last two seasons, has been limited to 56 games this season after spending the early part of the schedule recovering from offseason knee surgery. He’s been a great contact hitter as always, posting a .300 batting average and .341 on-base percentage, but his power has seemingly dropped off, as he’s hit just six homers and posted a .442 slugging percentage after hitting 20-plus homers and posting slugging percentages well over .500 in each of the past two seasons.
It’s unclear exactly where Murphy will slot into the Cubs’ lineup, as he’s a below-average defender no matter where he plays but has substantial experience at every infield position except shortstop. With Kris Bryant on the DL, it’s possible that Chicago could either station Murphy at third or move Javier Baez to that position and keep Murphy at second, thus removing David Bote — who has slumped to a .182/.217/.318 line over the last week — from the starting lineup. The bolder option, obviously, would be to play Murphy at second and move Baez to short on a full-time basis, bumping Addison Russell — who has a .685 OPS this year — from the regular starting nine.
Monasterio, a 21-year-old Venezuelan native, was in his fifth season in the Cubs organization. He had posted a .263/.359/.336 slash line with three homers and 10 steals while seeing significant action at both middle-infield positions for High-A Myrtle Beach this season.