Cubs add Chad Tracy to bench mix

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The Cubs did a little more work Tuesday evening toward filling their bench.  According to ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine, the team will announce on Wednesday the signing of infielder Chad Tracy to a minor league contract.

Tracy, 29, batted .237/.306/.389 last season with eight home runs and 39 RBI in 257 at-bats.  He’s struggled with injuries for the past few years, but it seems like a fine deal considering the money exchanged.  Tracy will earn $900,000 if he lands on the big league roster and can gain another $525,000 if he reaches 450 plate appearances.

There’s also a clause in Tracy’s contract that will award him $100,000 for Comeback Player of the Year honors.  That would certainly be a welcome scenario for both sides.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.