Kevin Millar and Chad Tracy are both trying to win a spot on the Chicago Cubs opening day roster. The question for who is the better fit for the team shouldn’t come down to a popularity contest, it should come down to who better fits the Cubs needs and who is the better player. What appears to be going on right now in the Chicago Cubs spring training camp right now is a popularity contest.
Kevin Millar the “self-proclaimed idiot” is winning the popularity contest, with his outgoing personality. He is ahead slightly in the hitting department as well this spring hitting .300/.481/.500 in 20 at bats with 6 hits (including one double and one home run), 7 walks and 5 strikeouts. Chad Tracy is hitting .269/.367/.308 with 7 hits (one double), 4 walks, and 3 strikeouts. There is not a huge difference, especially given the limited number of at bats.
Unless Kevin Millar can show he can play third base, there shouldn’t even be a question on who makes the team. I don’t think at his age, and his skill set that he can be adequate at third base. Millar just doesn’t have the range. Before training camp started, there were stories by the media about Millar getting to camp early and taking ground balls at third base, and wanting to prove he can still play third base(he has only played 32 games at third base in 12 seasons). Yet since spring training camp has began, he has not played one single inning at third base, which leads me to believe the Cubs management don’t think he can fill that role.
Millar played some left field the other day, trying to show he can be more versatile for the Cubs off the bench. I listened to the game on the radio, since it wasn’t on television, and he didn’t have any errors. Then while watching Sports Rise on Comcast Sports Net (Chicago), I saw a clip of him running for the ball in the outfield. All I have to say, is I hope we never get that desperate that Kevin Millar plays in the outfield. He might not drop a routine fly ball like Alfonso Soriano does occasionally, but that is because he won’t get to it.
Chad Tracy has faired better as a pinch hitter over his career hitting .291/.368/.547, while Kevin Millar has hit .214/.324/.359 as a pinch hitter. Over their careers their numbers are pretty close, Tracy .280/.339/.453 and Millar .274/.358/.452. Millar’s career splits versus right handed pitchers and left handed pitchers are nearly identical, while Chad Tracy numbers versus right handed pitchers are phenomenal, against left handed pitchers he is horrible.
Chad Tracy has played 52 games in the outfield over his career, Kevin Millar 355 games in the outfield. Millar last played in the outfield in 2007 and only 3 games, prior to that it was 2005 when he played 34 games in the outfield. Chad Tracy last played in the outfield in 2005 playing 52 games.
Both are capable of playing first base, but Chad Tracy is much better and has more experience at third base, than Millar. Kevin Millar is 38 years old and past his prime. Chad Tracy is 30 years old and now that his knee injuries are past him, he should rebound nicely.
With Aramis Ramirez’s injury issues last year, and so far through spring training the Cubs need a viable back up at third base. Jeff Baker is very capable of doing that defensively, offensively he is no where near capable. Tracy and Millar won’t put up the numbers that Ramirez can when he is healthy either, but both are much closer than Baker.
My vote goes to Chad Tracy, who does your vote go to?
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