Chad Tracy. You don’t remember him at all as a Cub, do you?
Tracy had a couple of good seasons for the Diamondbacks in 2005 and 2006, years when they lost 85 and 86 games, respectively. But in 2007, the D-backs won the N.L. West and installed Mark Reynolds at third base, reducing Tracy to being a bench player. After three years of doing that — and not very well — he went to free agency.
He found no takers, until the Cubs signed him to a minor-league contract. They didn’t have a spot at third base, either, with Aramis Ramirez entrenched there.
Tracy had a good spring, hitting .306/.370/.429 (15-for-49) with three doubles and a home run, so he made the Cubs’ Opening Day roster.
And proceeded to play... not very much at all. He didn’t start until the 17th game of the season, at third base to give A-Ram a break, and his next start — his first as a Cub at Wrigley Field — came May 2, in the team’s 26th game, against his old team, the D-backs.
Tracy had a fine afternoon, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and one driven in as the Cubs won 10-5.
It’s not much, but that’s kind of what the 2010 season was, a very odd year for the Cubs. Curiously, they were never more than one game over or under .500 for the first 20 games of the season. That 10-10 mark turned into 51-74 by August 22, the day Lou Piniella suddenly announced his retirement. That’s a pace for a 96-loss season, but the dead-cat bounce (24-13) they had under Mike Quade turned it into a 75-87 finish.
Tracy was optioned to Triple-A Iowa five days after his big game to make room on the active roster for Starlin Castro, who would make his major-league debut at that time. So there’s that. Tracy played 26 games at Iowa, demolished minor-league pitching to the tune of .396/.427/.648 (36-for-91) with five home runs and was recalled June 9 when Ramirez went on the disabled list with a bruised thumb.
He played in nine games while A-Ram was out, started six of them, went 5-for-22 and when Ramirez returned from the DL, was designated for assignment and became a free agent when the DFA period expired. He was signed by the Yankees, played a few games for them in Triple-A, then they let him go and the Marlins picked him up. He hit .245/.297/.333 in 41 games for the Marlins, spent 2011 with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan and played two more years as a bench player for a couple of awful Nationals teams in 2012 and 2013 before hanging it up.
There was another player named Chad Tracy playing in the minor leagues during almost this exact time frame, from 2006-14. That Tracy was a Chicago-area native who had some pretty good years in the minors in the Rangers, Rockies and Royals organizations as an outfielder/first baseman, but never played in the big leagues.
The Cubs probably would have done better signing that guy.