The Washington Nationals have signaled that they aren’t looking to compete down the stretch this season, as they traded away star second baseman Daniel Murphy to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.

Daniel Murphy Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs acquired Daniel Murphy from the Washington Nationals in exchange for a minor leaguer and future considerations. (Image: Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

The Cubs sent minor league infielder Andruw Monasterio back to Washington in the deal. The Nationals will also receive either cash considerations or a player to be named later.

Nationals Look to Future

The trade was one of two made by the Nationals on Tuesday, as they also moved first baseman Matt Adams to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for cash considerations. Because the moves were made after July 31, Murphy and Adams had to clear waivers before the trades could go through.

In an open letter, Nationals owner Mark D. Lerner told fans that while the organization had held tight at the initial trade deadline in hopes that the team would turn things around, the time had come to acknowledge that changes were needed.

“I believed in this team, and would have loved to see them all play healthy together this season,” Lerner wrote. “However, the time has come for us to make decisions that will bolster our roster for next season and beyond.”

Washington came into the season as one of the favorites in the National League, and the odds-on pick to win the NL East. But they currently sit at 63-63, 7.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the divisional race with only 36 games remaining in the season. The Nationals are also six games back of the Milwaukee Brewers for the second wild card position.

Murphy Could Stabilize Shaky Cubs Lineup

Meanwhile, the Cubs stand atop the NL Central with a 71-53 record, 2.5 games ahead of the Cardinals. However, their offense has been sputtering in August: Chicago is averaging just 3.2 runs per game this month, and has been held to just a single run in each of their last five games, only the second time in franchise history that has happened.

Adding Murphy, a three-time All-Star who is known for his consistent bat, could help stabilize the Cubs’ lineup. Murphy is hitting .300 on the year in just 56 games after missing the first two months of the season while recovering from knee surgery he had last October.

“We were certainly looking to jump-start the offense,” Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters before Chicago’s Tuesday night loss to the Detroit Tigers. “We thought the addition of consistent, high-level, professional at-bats would help us. Daniel Murphy has as good at-bats as anyone in the game.”

Many of the Cubs players are happy to see Murphy coming to their side. When the New York Mets swept the Cubs in the 2015 NLCS, Murphy put on a dominant performance, hitting .529 with four home runs over the course of four games.

“He’s just a pain when you’re playing against him,” Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant told the Chicago Tribune. “Hopefully he brings a lot of that over here.”

The addition of Murphy didn’t shift the odds much, but the Cubs remain one of the favorites to win the 2018 World Series. Chicago is listed at 10/1 by William Hill, behind only the Red Sox (4/1), Astros (5/1), and Dodgers (8/1).