Chad Tracy continues to struggle
By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter
As the July 31 trade deadline rapidly approaches, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson will have the opportunity to make a few changes to the roster. Acquiring a left-handed hitter and letting go of pinch-hitter Chad Tracy could very well be one of them.
The nine-year Major League veteran might be the most disappointing player on a disappointing Nationals bench. After an 0-for-4 performance in a rare start on Friday night, he is hitting a career-worst .149 (13-for-87), which is nearly 90 points below his previous career-low (.237 in 2009).
“I’ve had some big pinch-hits, but as far as playing when I’m getting the start, I haven’t done enough with it,” he said. “It is very frustrating.”
Tracy was brought to Washington for a few specific reasons. He backs up first baseman Adam LaRoche and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He’s a savvy veteran in the clubhouse. And he’s a left-handed bat off the bench.
Those roles, however, can be filled in other ways. The Nationals could bring up a much younger power hitter from Triple-A Syracuse, like Tyler Moore or Chris Marrero. They could give versatile infielder and switch-hitter Danny Espinosa another shot. Or they could look outside the organization for another veteran left-handed bat.
The simple fact is that Tracy is a career .273 hitter who hasn’t hit .273 since 2006. In two years with the Nationals, he is hitting .211 with a .270 OBP. He is 33 years old and likely will not factor into the team’s long-term plans. And with only 13 hits this season (three home runs) and no signs of a turnaround, Tracy knows that the Nationals might decide to go in a different direction.
“Any time you don’t get at-bats strung together it’s tough, you start in the hole,” Tracy said. “But that’s why I’m here. I’m a veteran guy, I’ve been through it before so I should be able to make the adjustment. And I just haven’t done it.”