Report: Rangers “very much in play” for Carlos Beltran

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It appears the Giants, Braves and Phillies have some company.

Adam Rubin of ESPN.com reports that the Rangers remain “very much in play” in the pursuit of Carlos Beltran. The first-place Rangers have reportedly zeroed in on Beltran and Padres’ closer Heath Bell as their primary trade targets before the deadline.

While the Rangers have a scout in Miami watching Beltran, a source tells Rubin that the Mets have ramped up watching Rangers’ minor leaguers. In fact, Mets scout Bryan Lambe is watching the Rangers’ Class A Hickory club after being redirected.

Some prominent members of the Hickory roster include shortstop Jurickson Profar, outfielder Jake Skole, third baseman Christian Villanueva and right-hander Roman Mendez. Profar was recently ranked as the game’s No. 12 prospect on Baseball America’s midseason list and is highly unlikely to be included in a potential deal for Beltran.

Cubs to acquire Daniel Murphy from the Nationals

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The Chicago Cubs are going to acquire Daniel Murphy from the Washington Nationals. Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs will send back prospect Andruw Monasterio and a player to be named later in exchange. Craig Mish of Sirius XM was the first to report that the Cubs were the team that claimed Murphy off of waivers.

Murphy got off to a slow start this year coming off of major surgery but is hitting .300/.341/.442 on the season and has been particularly hot of late. Murphy is primarily a second baseman, of course, but he has played some first base too. The Cubs, at any rate, have a pretty flexible roster so they’ll likely be able to find a good amount of playing time for him at either position and, when he doesn’t start, he’ll be a great option off the bench.

Between this trade and the trade of Matt Adams to the Cardinals, the Nats have officially thrown in the towel on 2018.