It looks like Diamondbacks 3B/1B Chad Tracy is close to returning from knee problems that have limited him to just one at bat since August 12 of last year. KFFL reported that he would work out in extended spring training starting this past Wednesday, and was slated for game action last night. Well, he’s been working out, but has yet to play in an extended spring training game.
When Tracy does return, which should be in a few weeks, it looks like he’ll be sitting the bench. The Diamondbacks have scored an MLB-leading 139 runs this year, so substituting Tracy for either Mark Reynolds or Conor Jackson — who are both murdering the ball — seems highly unlikely. While Tracy would provide a late-innings threat off the bench, as well as a capable backup who could spell both Reynolds and Jackson during slumps, he might provide more value in a trade.
Looking at the D’Backs roster, it seems — as is the case with many teams — that the bullpen is their weakest aspect. The good news is that it’s still early, and they have time to figure out if they need an upgrade. If they do, Tracy would be a decent candidate to acquire one. He’s owed $3.75MM this year and $4.75MM in 2009, with a $7MM club option ($1MM buyout) for 2010.
The Twins are the first team that come to mind. He’d be an upgrade over Mike Lamb, and they could spare an arm. While Tracy likely wouldn’t help them contend this year, he could be part of the plan for 2009. The A’s could be in, since Jack Hannahan hasn’t been cutting it lately (and who knows with Eric Chavez). Houston could use an upgrade from Geoff Blum.
In any case, Arizona is in the driver’s seat. Tracy is relatively young, cheap, and a league-average hitter. If they can’t find what they want in a trade, he’d still be valuable coming off the bench.
Posted by Joe Pawlikowski, who writes for River Ave. Blues, a Yankees blog.