Goatriders of the Apocalypse

2010 Player Preview: Chad Tracy

I can't really explain my first reaction to the knowledge that the Cubs had signed both Chad Tracy and Kevin Millar to small contracts.

My instinctive reaction was that Millar had no place on this team, and that Tracy's ability to back up at third (along with his handedness) made him a potential asset on the bench. I thought that Millar was old and washed up, and that Tracy was unlucky health-wise and still might have some value.

At least I was right about their ages. Millar is just this side of 40, while Tracy is just about to turn 30 himself (which makes him younger than both Ryan Theriot and Micah Hoffpauir). But even though it's generally a telling statistic in baseball, in this case the old adage rings true: for Millar and Tracy, age is indeed just a number.

Tracy has managed to take about 750 total at-bats over the past three seasons, appearing in 270-something games. That's 500 fewer at-bats and 100 or so fewer games than Kevin Millar over the same time frame. And even when he did hit, his performance wasn't much better than Millar's; their OPS numbers are pretty much the same since 2007, with Tracy claiming a slight lead.

With Theriot, Lee, Ramirez, Byrd, Soriano, and Soto starting every day, and Nady and Baker on the bench against righties, you'd think Tracy's ability to hit left-handed would be valuable for the Cubs (he's got an OPS against righties of .841 in his career). But Millar as certainly outhit him this spring, and the need for two second basemen and five outfielders might leave him off the team.

If the Cubs open the season with 11 pitchers, Tracy might get the 25th spot on the roster. Even then, it's hard to see him getting a ton of at-bats this year.

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