Cubs get big bat in Daniel Murphy deal
By Larry Lage
DETROIT (AP) — The Chicago Cubs know all too well what Daniel Murphy can do at the plate.
So they are very much looking forward to playing alongside him for a change.
The Cubs bolstered their struggling lineup by acquiring Murphy in a trade with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old Murphy has a .413 career batting average at Wrigley Field, according to STATS. He was the NL Championship Series MVP when the Mets swept the Cubs in 2015, hitting .529 with four homers and six RBIs.
“It’s going to be more fun to watch him hit,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said before Tuesday’s 2-1 loss at Detroit. “He kind of devastated us in 2015.”
The Cubs also announced that Yu Darvish will miss the rest of the season because of a stress reaction in his right elbow.
Darvish left his rehab start for Class A South Bend on Sunday after just one inning.
“Hopefully it turns out well to get him back next year from Day 1,” Maddon said. “It’s been a very difficult year, obviously, for him to have to endure the physical and maybe some of the emotional, mental pain.”
Darvish, who turned 32 on Thursday, signed a $126 million, six-year contract with Chicago in February. But he made just eight starts in his first year with the Cubs, going 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA.
The deal for Murphy comes at an opportune time for NL Central-leading Chicago, which has scored one run in five straight games on five home runs.
Third baseman Kris Bryant is on the disabled list with an inflamed left shoulder, and shortstop Addison Russell was scratched from Tuesday’s loss because of right shoulder inflammation.
“Having Daniel in the field with the rest of the guys will be a big help,” Maddon said.
The Cubs got Murphy for Class A infielder Andruw Monasterio and a player to be named or cash, grabbing the attention of the team as it prepared for the matchup with Detroit.
“This is obviously something that makes us better so they’re all jacked up,” Maddon said. “I walked in the food room, grabbing some salad, and (Ben) Zobrist is looking at the TV and he said, ‘We got Daniel Murphy!’ He was smiling.
“I thought he was messing with me. He didn’t know until he saw it. That was legitimate expression of joy, knowing we got Daniel Murphy. I thought that was kind of cool.”
Murphy missed the start of the year after undergoing right knee surgery on Oct. 20. He is eligible for free agency after this season.
The three-time All-Star is hitting .300 with six homers and 29 RBIs in 56 games.
“It’s really bittersweet,” he said in Washington before joining his new team. “I sat at this podium probably two and a half years ago. The Washington Nationals were the only offer I had. They took a chance on me three years ago and I feel very disappointed in myself that it kind of came to this point.”
Murphy spent the first seven seasons of his 10-year career with the Mets. He is a .299 career hitter with 116 homers, 327 doubles and 628 RBIs.
“One of the best teammates I’ve ever played with,” Nationals star Bryce Harper said.
Murphy has been particularly good since the All-Star break, batting .340 in his last 28 games. He was surprised to be claimed, figuring he would end up staying in Washington.
Maddon, and his players, were thrilled the front office was able to add him to the roster.
“He’s kind of like exactly what we need right now,” Maddon said. “That kind of an at-bat near the top of the order.”