Tracy a free agent after Arizona picks $1 million buyout over $7 million option

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When the Diamondbacks signed Chad Tracy to a long-term contract in May of 2006 he was a 26-year-old lifetime .296/.354/.484 hitter who had emerged as the team’s starting third baseman following a hugely productive minor-league career.
Buying out his three seasons of arbitration eligibility for $13.25 million and getting a $7 million team option for his first season of free agency seemed like a shrewd investment, but since signing the deal Tracy has hit just .265/.327/.424 while playing fewer than 100 games in each of the past three seasons because of injuries.
This afternoon the Diamondbacks declined their $7 million option on Tracy for 2010, choosing to make him a free agent with a $1 million buyout. When healthy Tracy was a high-average hitter with 20-homer power who could play passable defense at third base, but he’s batted just .256 with a total of 23 homers in 262 games over the past three seasons and is no longer a realistic option defensively at the hot corner.
At this point in his career Tracy will likely be competing with guys like Eric Hinske for jobs as a left-handed bench bat. Tracy should have no trouble finding work despite his bad knees leaving him with even less defensive versatility than Hinske, but may have to put together a healthy, productive season as a part-time player before anyone views him as an everyday option again.

Brewers promote David Stearns from GM to president of baseball operations

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It used to be that the top dog in a team’s baseball operations department was the general manager. That has changed over the past several years with some combination of title inflation, a genuine addition of supervisory layers and, on some level, employe poaching insurance leading to the top dog now being called, usually, a “president of baseball operations.”

Brewers’ general manager David Stearns is the latest to assume that tile, as the club just announced that he has been promoted to Milwaukee’s president of baseball operations. He has also received a contract extension of unknown length.

Not a big shock given how well the Brewers did in 2018, winning the NL Central title and playing in the NLCS. It’s also worth noting — with a nod to that “employee poaching insurance” item above — that Stearns has drawn some interest from other organizations. It’s thus not unfair to see the promotion is both a thanks for a job well done and a means of keeping other teams’ hands off of him, as employees are generally not given permission to interview for lateral moves, but are given permission to interview for promotions.

The Mudville Nine may have wanted to steal him from Milwaukee, but for Stearns to get a promotion from where he is now would require the creation of some other lofty title.