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Cubs try to make themselves the NL favorite with trade for Daniel Murphy

Chris Cwik
Yahoo Sports

The Chicago Cubs may have made the move that separates them from the rest of the pack in the National League. The team has acquired second baseman Daniel Murphy in a trade with the Washington Nationals, according to our own Jeff Passan.

The 33-year-old Murphy is hitting .300/.341/.442 in 205 plate appearances. He’s set to be a free-agent at the end of the season.

What does the Daniel Murphy trade do for the Cubs?

The move gives the Cubs a three-time All-Star and former MVP candidate to plug into their lineup. Murphy hasn’t played at that level in 2018 due to offseason microfracture knee surgery that sidelined him until June. He’s still put up solid offensive numbers, but his defense, which has never been strong, has taken a tumble.

Utilizing Murphy could prove to be a challenge. For now, the team can move Javier Báez to third base to replace the injured Kris Bryant. Murphy can take his normal spot at second.

Once Bryant is healthy, the team will have to get more creative. If the Cubs want Murphy’s bat in the lineup, Báez could move to short to replace Addison Russell. The team could also use Bryant in the outfield, but that seems unlikely considering his shoulder issue.

What does the Daniel Murphy trade do for the Nationals?

For the Nationals, the move signals that the team is ready to tear it all down. Shortly after dealing Murphy, the team also traded Matt Adams to the St. Louis Cardinals, according to Jeff Passan. Bryce Harper was also claimed on waivers, though it appears he’s staying with Washington.

In return for Murphy, the Nationals received infielder Andruw Monasterio. The 21-year-old has hit .263/.359/.336 in 436 plate appearances in High A.

More deals might be on the way for the Nationals after the team failed to recover from their rough start.

Infielder Daniel Murphy is heading to the Chicago Cubs. (AP Photo)

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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