Before the waiver trade deadline, the Chicago Cubs made a bold and unexpected move in acquiring Daniel Murphy from the Washington Nationals. In the offseason, they have a decision to make over whether or not to re-sign him.
On Aug. 21, the Chicago Cubs acquired Daniel Murphy from the Washington Nationals. The move was unexpected, but was largely welcomed by Cubs fans in the end. Why? It’s simple. The guy can flat-out hit.
In the past, Murphy has been a Cub killer. No one is likely to forget what he did against Chicago as a member of the New York Mets in the 2015 National League Championship Series. In that series alone, Murphy batted .529 with a 1.850 OPS and four home runs as the Mets rolled to a four-game sweep.
But in 2018, Murphy joined the Cubs’ side and has been great offensively since. Since joining the Cubs, Murphy is batting .279 with six home runs. He has come through for the Cubs at a crucial time. At the time of his acquisition, the Cubs offense was sluggish, and Murphy brought it to life, as the Cubs won eight straight games to start off his Cubs tenure.
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To re-sign or not to re-sign?
Going into Murphy’s trade, everyone knew that he would be a rental player, as he hits free agency at the end of the season. Still, that does not rule out the option of the Cubs re-signing him this upcoming winter.
At 33 years old, Murphy is on the older side, as he has already played 10 seasons in the league. He is also a subpar defender at second base, and some of his defensive struggles have already shown in his short time with the Cubs.
However, with the Cubs middle infield in flux, Murphy could be an important guy to have going forward after this season. After the news surfaced about Addison Russell last week, there is a chance he will no longer be with the Cubs in 2019, leaving a spot at shortstop for Javier Baez to take over in the future.
But if that happens, there is a spot open at second base. Sure, Murphy isn’t the best defensive option, but he fits in perfectly with the offense as an experienced contact hitter who can carry the young offense through the ups and downs of the season.
Consistency is key
Throughout his major league career, Murphy has been nothing if not consistent. He has a career batting average of .292 and has batted over .300 in four campaigns. That kind of consistency is key to have in a lineup – especially one as young as the Cubs.
Sure, Murphy is aging, and by the end of his next contract, he could be close to retirement. But with the type of hitter he is, he would be worth re-signing, if only to bring some consistency to a lineup that has been up and down at times throughout 2018.
Murphy may be the only hitter the Cubs sign in the offseason, but he would be a good one to go after. He has shown in his month with Chicago that he can ignite a lineup and has done so for much of his career, and it would be worth the cost to keep him on the North Side for a few more years.
Finding a stable presence moving forward is key for the Cubs – and Murphy is the guy who can bring that to the table. Re-signing him in the offseason would be worth it, as Murphy has proven his worth with the Cubs so far – and could do so to an even greater extend in the postseason.