Throughout the offseason, The Nats Blog will look back at every player’s 2012 season to summarize and analyze his performance, and we’ll look ahead to his possible role in 2013. We’ll go from #1 Steve Lombardozzi all the way to #63 Henry Rodriguez with about two posts per week until Spring Training. Enjoy.
Chad Tracy was picked up before the 2012 season began as a role player and bench guy. He quickly became the leader of that group, who called themselves "The Goon Squad." Without guys like Tracy, the Nationals wouldn't have finished with the best record in baseball last season.
Tracy ended up posting a respectable .269/.343/.441 slash line for an impressive .784 OPS in just 105 plate appearances. He became the catalyst for a number of big hits and late inning rallies that allowed the Nationals to earn the best record in baseball.
He doesn't provide a lot as far as defense goes traditionally, but in the few instances when he spelled Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche on the bases, Tracy did a nice job filling the roles when necessary. He's not someone who you want in the field regularly, but he's proven himself passable if he needs to step in for injuries and occasional days off.
Next year: In August, the Nationals extended Tracy's contract to include the 2013 season, so he will once again lead The Goon Squad next season. He made $750,000, and his $1 million contract for the upcoming season is probably a bargain for the role he's proven he can fill. Tracy underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late October, and he's expected to be ready by spring training.
Next up: #20 Ian Desmond