Here is how this article began earlier this morning …
The Baltimore Orioles have made yet another depth signing with Chad Tracy, a corner infielder who has been a utility player and pinch-hitter for the Nationals the past two seasons. The 33-year-old (who throws right / bats left) appeared in 24 games each at 1B and 3B over the past two seasons. His best years were with the Diamondbacks where, for example, he hit 27 homers with a .308 batting average in 2005. He is a career .274 hitter with a .333 OBP.
I know what you’re thinking … another signing of this type? Ugh! Well, it gets better (or worse). There is another Chad Tracy, and that is who the Orioles actually have signed to a minor league contract.
ACTUALLY the Orioles signed 28-year-old Chad Samuel Tracy to a minor league contract. This real Chad Tracy is a Yankee Doodle Dandy – born on the 4th of July, 1985 … and is mostly a first-baseman with some left field and catching experiences. He is a career .256 hitter at AAA.
Though the real Chad Tracy (for the Orioles, that is) has never played in the big leagues, he was a 2006 third-round pick of the Rangers out of Pepperdine University. Huh! I thought all Rangers picks became stars! Actually, most of them play for the Orioles at some point.
He is the son of former Dodgers, Pirates and Rockies manager Jim Tracy.
(Update – 90 minutes after posting this article, the Chad Tracy of the Nationals for the past two years signed with the Angels – a minor league deal with invite to spring training.)
Reports yesterday link an interest of the Orioles to Jeff Baker, a utility infielder. Others interested in Baker include the Nationals and Marlins. He is a career .267 hitter, who hit .279 for the Rangers in 2013 with 11 homers in only 175 plate appearances. His OBP was .360! That’s the good news; the bad news is that he is a Scott Boras client, but maybe Scott and the Orioles are becoming pals these days! Baker has played the highest number of his career games at 2B, but also has many appearances at 1st, 3rd, and the corner outfield positions.
BUT WHAT ABOUT STARTING PITCHING?
There is nothing new to write at this moment, beyond reporting that the Orioles have continued interest in A.J. Burnett – who has apparently decided to pitch again this season, and possibly somewhere other than Pittsburgh. The reasons why he should agree to play for the Birds were given in my recent open letter to him. It certainly seems like a perfect match in every way.
Let me say this on the need for a veteran starter: It has to work out that the Orioles WILL get one of these remaining free agent starting pitchers. The market for them is not extensive, but they are good players and are going to play somewhere – but apparently for a lot less money than they hoped to receive a few months ago.
One thing is for sure about Dan Duquette. He does not much care what people think of him, and he is going to wait to do things at the best price possible. Would you want to challenge him in a game of “who blinks first?”