It’s a nostalgic day at Wrigley Field, as former Cubs outfielder Matt Murton has officially signed a minor league contract to return to the Cubs, MLBTR has learned. A report from Yahoo Japan first reported that an agreement was in place last week.
The now-34-year-old Murton was originally selected by the Red Sox with the No. 32 overall pick in the 2003 draft but was traded from Boston to Chicago in the four-team Nomar Garciaparra blockbuster. Murton made his big league debut with the Cubs in 2005 and went on to spend three-and-a-half seasons as a productive member of the team’s outfield, batting .294/.362/.448 in his time with the Cubs. Murton would eventually be traded to the Athletics (alongside Josh Donaldson) in a trade that netted the Cubs right-handers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin.
Murton’s big league career after leaving the Cubs was brief; he appeared in just nine games for the A’s before he was included in an offseason trade that sent him to the Rockies, and he saw just 29 games as a member of Colorado’s big league club. Murton did have a big year at the Triple-A level with the Rockies in 2009, though, which seemingly caught the eye of the Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. Murton signed on with Hanshin for the 2010 season and crushed Japanese pitching, hitting .349/.395/.499 with 17 homers in his first season overseas. While his initial plan may not have been to embark on such a lengthy stay, Murton would go on to spend a total of six seasons with Hanshin, batting a combined .310/.352/.437 in 3534 plate appearances with the Tigers.
Now back with the Cubs, Murton will look to force his way into an outfield mix that has Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Jorge Soler lined up as the starters (from left field to right field) with Chris Coghlan and Matt Szczur also in the mix for bench roles. Ben Zobrist and Arismendy Alcantara, too, are capable of playing the outfield, though Zobrist will be the Cubs’ primary second baseman, and Alcantara is probably bound for Triple-A after struggling there in 2015.
When the word nostalgia is used in a signing, I stop reading
chill out dude
I’m sure MLBTR will be so disappointed you didn’t read this
You don’t stop reading.
Good for him, I never understood why no one have him a chance after his solid seasons with the Cubs.
Great story, but not a great fit. Hope he crushes at AAA and another team claims him so he can play in the bigs somewhat regularly this season.
Depth. never no when injuries can happen
Time to bust out my #19 Matt Murton jersey that was a converted Hee Seop Choi jersey.
I’d say soler might have to earn his spot, in the chance murton might be able to take his spot in right field.
Nah, Murton is going to take Adron Chambers place in AAA.
Chris Coghlan (Inspelled it right this time!) already ensures that Soler (and Schwarber) can’t get too comfortable but I doubt Murton does much to push the needle on that. Except he becomes a viable Coghlan platoon partner. The Cubs seem to be preparing for every eventuality.
I love this move! Not just because Murton is an old Cub and a cult favorite (which he is) for some Cub fans; but also because if either Soler or Schwarber crap out at the major league level, Murton becomes a perfect RHB platoon partner for Chris Coghlin and gives the Cubs a really nice alternative.
I mean, I hope both Soler and Schwarbwr OPS .780 or better but one of them is struggling around .710 or so come May 15, I could totally see them being sent down.
Excellent depth signing for a team that seems committed to having many different options at many different positions!
This guy always could hit.
It’s a no brainier to sign him to a minor league deal.
This guy always could hit.
A no brainier to sign him to a minor league deal.