The Chicago Cubs traded for Daniel Murphy on Tuesday after the second baseman had been placed on waivers by the Washington Nationals.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 21, 2018
Chicago, who boast the best record in the entire National League, added one of the best bats in the sport for the stretch and a probable playoff run. What is more puzzling, though, is how Murphy fell that far, given the infield weaknesses of the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks in particular.
Murphy has been red-hot since the All-Star break, hitting .340/.370/.534. The Cubs’ infield has been weaker due to Kris Bryant’s injury issues, but Murphy was not a necessity. The Rockies and Diamondbacks, however, have clear holes that Murphy could have filled.
The Diamondbacks added Eduardo Escobar at the non-waiver deadline, but could easily have found at bats for Murphy at second base. Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed have hardly been setting the world alight offensively and even Murphy’s questionable defence is worth it for that upgrade at the plate.
The Rockies, though, could have claimed Murphy before Arizona. It is baffling that they decided not to.
DJ LeMahieu is a decent hitter and Gold Glove defender. Murphy, particularly with how well he’s been hitting, is still a more valuable ballplayer.
Ian Desmond has been dire offensively (.302 OBP and .434 SLG). Desmond has played over 100 games at first base this season, which so happens to be a position Murphy can play. Replacing Desmond with Murphy would have been an enormous improvement for Colorado, but for some reason they didn’t even try to get a deal done.
Maybe they didn’t fancy paying the £4 million Murphy is owed, maybe they didn’t want to upset Desmond, but either way this is a bizarre decision for a team only half-a-game back.
Colorado and Arizona’s losses are Chicago’s gain. Murphy is a brilliant pickup for the Cubs, who must have been shocked to see him fall so far.