Nov 15, 2013, 1:11 PM EDT
Age on Opening Day 2014: 33
How acquired: Signed as free agent Dec. 20, 2011
MLB service time: 8 years, 116 days
2013 salary+bonuses: $1 million
Contract status: Free agent
2013 Stats: 92 G, 136 PA, 6 R, 26 H, 4 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 7 BB, 25 SO, .202 AVG, .243 OBP, .326 SLG, .568 OPS, -0.6 WAR
2013 analysis: Chad Tracy was a solid option for the Nats off the bench during their 98-win 2012 season, but he couldn’t recreate that spark in a disappointing 2013. Tracy was expected to be the team’s most reliable lefty bench bat and it simply didn’t work out. He had 127 appearances against right-handed pitchers and hit just .192. Time after time when the Nats turned to Tracy, he came up short.
What perhaps made matters worse was the collective performance of the Nationals’ reserves. It started with Tracy, but was a problem throughout. Because Tracy was so good in 2012 he in many ways was the face of the Nats’ bench and the unit as a whole can be attributed to some of the team’s struggles. As the injury bug hit their lack of depth became apparent. And though Tracy was able to help the team compensate for injuries in 2012, he and his bench-mates couldn’t fill the void this time around.
2014 outlook: Tracy was cut loose by the Nats on Halloween and is now a free agent. He’s still just 33 so perhaps a team gives him a shot in 2014. But if he does get a deal, it will likely be of the minor league variety with an invitation to spring training. Tracy is really just a pinch-hitter at this point and his value in that role right now is questionable.
Tracy had built a reputation as a solid bench bat, but those skills may have faded. He isn’t very good in the field and failed in the few opportunities to start in 2013. Maybe he comes back healthier having dealt with minor neck issues later in the year. Either way, Tracy has his work cut out for him to justify another chance in the majors.
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