Nationals Trade Daniel Murphy to Cubs, Matt Adams to the Cardinals
In Bryce Harper's contract year, the Washington Nationals were looking to take the next step. A team that had qualified for the postseason in four of the past six seasons, Washington could never get out of the National League Division Series and many viewed this as their last shot to do so. With the young Atlanta Braves core starting to form as well as the youth of the Philadelphia Phillies starting to improve, this seemed like the last year the Nationals would be able to take the division before they would retool in order to compete.
Mired in mediocrity this season, the Nationals currently sit at 63-63 on the year. Both the Braves and Phillies have been battling out this season for control in the National League East while the Nationals now sit 7.5 games back of the Braves in the division and six games back in the National League Wild Card. Nothing has gone right for them this season and on Tuesday they decided to make some moves. Second baseman Daniel Murphy was sent to the Chicago Cubs for Class A Advanced infielder Andruw Monasterio and a player to be named later or cash considerations. Additionally, the Nats sent first baseman Matt Adams back to the St. Louis Cardinals where he started his career in exchange for cash considerations.
In the first trade, Daniel Murphy will join a Cubs team that is currently leading the National League Central over a surging Cardinals team by just 2.5 games. The left-handed hitter is batting .340 since the All-Star Break which ranks 10th in Major League Baseball. On the season, Murphy is hitting .300 with 6 home runs and 29 RBIs in 56 games. After having offseason knee surgery last October, Murphy missed Washington's first 68 games before returning on June 12th against the New York Yankees. He has been proven to be an effective hitter and the Cubs will need him considering their recent injury issues.
With third baseman Kris Bryant still on the disabled list battling left shoulder inflammation and Addison Russell potentially headed for the DL with right shoulder soreness, Murphy could potentially play third base for now. When Bryant and Russell return that could change, but Bryant has said he would be willing to play outfield when he returns to help alleviate from the crowded infield. What happens remains to be seen but third base seems like the position Murphy will take over for the time being.
Meanwhile, the Cubs sent over infielder Andruw Monasterio who has played for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach this season. Monasterio is hitting .263 with 3 home runs and 31 RBIs in 109 games with the team. He will now report to the Class A Advanced Potomac Nationals.
With the Matt Adams trade, the Washington Nationals simply get cash consideration while the St. Louis Cardinals get first baseman, Matt Adams, back. Adams was traded to the Braves back in 2017 for Class A infielder Juan Yepez due to his diminishing at-bats last season. However, left-handed power has been hard to come by for the Cardinals, Adams fits the bill, and reuniting him with his former team makes sense for that reason. With Washington this season, the left-handed hitter is batting .257 with 18 home runs and 48 RBIs in 94 games. Since August 5th, Adams is 0-for-21 and only started in four of those games as Ryan Zimmerman has taken his place.
The Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now and making a move like this signals they are ready to go all-in over the course of the next month. They currently hold a half-game lead for the first wild card spot in the National League over the Milwaukee Brewers and a full game over the Philadelphia Phillies who are on the outside looking in. Even if he does not see the field every day, Adams adds power and depth to the Cardinals' lineup as they continue their quest for October.
Despite the moves, the Nats are not waving the white flag and GM Mike Rizzo seems to think regardless of the moves the team can play "competitive games at the end of the season." Meanwhile, Nationals owner Mark D. Lerner said in an open letter to the fans that he believes the decisions "will bolster our roster for next season and beyond." Given the play of the Nationals this season, it is hard to imagine this team competing towards the end of the year. The best thing they can do is begin planning out a course of action for this offseason in an attempt to get better for next year.
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