Nationals trade Murphy, Adams for financial flexibility

Daniel Murphy (20) celebrates hitting a 2 run home run.The Washington Nationals waited until after the non-waiver trade deadline to decide whether they were buyers or sellers this season, moving Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams to teams with better postseason ambitions on Tuesday and receiving little more than cash considerations in return. Murphy joins the National League leading Chicago Cubs, who have struggled at the plate recently, while Adams joins the surging St. Louis Cardinals, who have won eight of their last 10 and are in the thick of the NL wild card race.

Nationals owner Mark D. Lerner wrote an open letter to fans explaining the trade as the result of a failed gamble at the July deadline, when it appeared the team could still climb back into playoff contention despite their struggles. According to Lerner, the trade was a tough decision that puts the franchise in a better financial position for 2019 and beyond. Both Murphy and Adams are free agents at the end of the season, but the cash Washington received could go towards extending former MVP Bryce Harper, who was placed on revocable waivers but won’t be moved after a deal couldn’t be reached.

Murphy, who is batting .340 since the All-Star break, could be asked to play third base for the Cubs, who have red-hot Javier Baez at second base and third baseman Kris Bryant on the disabled list. He is likely to assume more of a utility role once Bryant returns, but that will depend on how much he helps Chicago’s lagging offense.

Adams is returning to where his major league career began, and he probably needed the change of scenery with his playing time declining in Washington. August has been an especially tough month at the plate for Adams, and his chances to snap out of that slump were growing thinner behind Ryan Zimmerman at first base.

The Nationals, who entered 2018 as the favourites to win their third straight NL East division title, called up a pair of players from triple-A Syracuse to fill their vacant roster spots: Adrian Sanchez and Andrew Stevenson. Neither Sanchez nor Stevenson have made much of an impact in their previous stints with the big club.