The Washington Nationals are officially waving the white flag on the 2018 MLB season.
Washington traded infielder Daniel Murphy to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday in exchange for minor-league infielder Andruw Monasterio and a player to be named later or cash.
Murphy is in the final year of a three-year, $37.5-million contract. After missing the beginning of the 2018 campaign with a knee injury, the three-time All-Star has played in 56 games, posting a productive .300/.341/.442 slash line with six home runs and one stolen base.
"We were certainly looking to jump-start the offense," Cubs president Theo Epstein told ESPN on Tuesday night. "We've been scuffling lately. 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."
Murphy is also defined by his postseason accolades. The 33-year-old has a history of breaking out when it matters most, producing an incredible .323/.407/.613 slash line with eight home runs and 19 RBIs in 24 career playoff games.
"I'm going to try and compete like my hair is on fire," an excited Murphy said Wednesday.
With slugger Kris Bryant still on the disabled list, Murphy's versatility will allow Cubs manager Joe Maddon to slot him in either at first base, second base, or third base. Maddon's roster already boasts many players, like Ben Zobrist and Javier Baez, that have the ability to play multiple positions.
Chicago (71-53) enters play play Wednesday with a 2 1/2-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals for top spot in the National League Central. The Cubs are seeking their fourth straight playoff appearance, and their second World Series title in three years.
However, the Cubs did suffer a setback Wednesday, when the team announced right-hander Yu Darvish would miss the remainder of the season with a stress reaction in his pitching elbow and a triceps issue.
Darvish was expected to help anchor a rotation which already featured southpaw Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Kyle Hendricks.
The Nationals (63-63) were expected to compete for a third consecutive National League East Division title, but currently sit 7 1/2 games back of the division-leading Atlanta Braves.