Results tagged ‘ chad tracy ’
After the 2013 season comes to an end, the Nationals are likely to make changes to improve the club for next season. Here are the current Nationals who may not be with the club next year.
OF Roger Bernadina: As one person put it, “[Bernadina] has been a disappointment this year.” He not only has problems swinging the bat, but Bernadina has made some fundamental mistakes on the bases. As one evaluator put it, “[general manager Mike] Rizzo has never been a fan of Bernadina’s.”
Bernadina is arbration eligible after this season and there is a good chance he will be non-tendered.
2B Danny Espinosa: Shoulder and wrist injuries are the reasons Espinosa is having his worst year in 2013. If he comes back to the big leagues for Washington, he most likely will be a reserve. He could be an everyday player elsewhere. He must cut down on the strikeouts to become an everyday player again.
RHP Dan Haren: Despite pitching well in the last month or so, Haren doesn’t think he will be back with the Nationals next year because of the season he has had, overall. He is 7-11 with a 4.99 ERA in 21 starts. The Nationals signed him to a one-year, $13 million deal to be one of their five starters this year.
1B Adam LaRoche: Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is arguably having his worst year defensively, with a team-leading 17 errors. But that number doesn’t tell the whole story. He is still having throwing issues because of the surgery he had on his right shoulder. In fact in early June, Zimmerman said he expects the shoulder to be in rehab mode for the rest of the season, but it will not keep him out of the lineup. It would not be surprising if the Nationals decided to move Zimmerman from third to first base as early as September. That could mean trading LaRoche to make room for Zimmerman at the position.
OF Denard Span: The Nationals thought he would be their ideal leadoff man after they acquired him from the Twins for pitching prospect Alex Meyer. Entering Tuesday’s action against the Giants, Span is hitting .263 with a .312 on-base percentage. Even worst, he has a .167 batting average against left-handers. It’s not known if Span will get another chance next season.
Brian Goodwin is not ready to take over center fielder. The Nationals could try to acquire a center fielder this offseason. For example, Shin-Soo Choo is a free agent after the season. He currently has a .409 on-base percentage with the Reds.
C Kurt Suzuki: Most of the playing time behind the plate has gone to Wilson Ramos, so it is doubtful Suzuki will have his option vested for 2014. The Nationals have a plethora of quality catchers in the farm system, so it looks like Suzuki will take his services elsewhere after next season.
INF Chad Tracy: The leader of the Goon Squad, Tracy is not having a productive season like he did last year. Entering Tuesday’s action against the Giants, Tracy is 18-for-102 [.176] with three home runs six RBIs. He is not the only one who is not producing of the bench. The bench is one of the reasons the Nationals have been inconsistent this season.
By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter
After watching his offense score five runs in three games against the Dodgers, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo decided that it was time for a change. He fired hitting coach Rick Eckstein, who was in his ninth season with the club, including his fifth as hitting coach.
Manager Davey Johnson was not happy about the move, calling Monday “arguably the toughest day I’ve had in baseball.” Here’s what some of the players had to say:
Chad Tracy: “A lot of us feel like we had some responsibility in him being let go. There’s nobody on this coaching staff that works harder than Rick Eckstein. It’s unfortunate just because it’s not his fault. I think he’s a great guy, first of all. He’ll land on his feet somewhere. There’s no doubt about that. And I really enjoyed having him around here the last two years.”
Adam LaRoche: “It’s unfortunate for we, the offense, to put them in a position where they have to make the move. He’s a great hitting coach, there’s nothing he could have done. It’s on us. It’s hard to send your whole offense down to the minors.”
Ian Desmond: “Rick was part of something really special here. It gets hard to remember that a couple of years ago there were 15,000 or 20,000 people in the stands and a sub-.500 team getting run out there every day. With Rick we got better, we continued to get better and we ended up winning a division title. I think he’s got four or five Silver Sluggers on his resume. He’s done a lot of special things and he’s obviously a very good hitting coach. But this is a very cutthroat business and it’s all about what have you done for me lately. Unfortunately for him, he had to go.”
LaRoche: “You want a hitting coach who’s in the cage all day long, always there waiting for guys to come down there. I don’t think you could ever walk in that cage anytime of the day and not see Eck in there.”
Desmond: “I think one of the best qualities of Rick was that he was the epitome of a team player. If I said, ‘Rick I want to go out and hit in some rain and lightning,’ he would do it.”
Ryan Zimmerman: “It’s tough. It’s part of the professional business. When things don’t happen on the field, things like this have to happen. But it’s the players’ fault. We’re the ones not hitting, we’re the ones not scoring runs. When it comes down to it, no hitting coach or pitching coach can do anything about this but us.”
Tracy: “I don’t think anybody can blame Rick Eckstein for any of the woes that we’ve had on the offensive side. And Rick Schu, he’s been around a lot of us, so he knows our swings. I’m sure he’s probably looking at a lot of them on video as we speak to try to get familiar before he gets here. It may change the atmosphere around here. And it may not. We don’t know. But we’ll move on and flip the page and keep playing baseball.”
Zimmerman: “I’ve hit the same way since I was ten years old. When you get to this level, it’s your job to hit. We get paid a lot of money to hit and do our job. … No coach is going to come in here and turn someone who isn’t a .300 hitter into a .300 hitter. When you get to this level, you are what you are.”
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.”