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Curious Case of Chad Tracy

by Mike DePilla
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just a few days ago at Soxfest, Ken Williams used some variations of his trademarked "can't spend a dollar when you only have 50 cents" (TM) when discussing three of this winter's free agents.

Johnny Damon and Nick Johnson were two of the names in question, both high level players that would fill significant needs on the 2010 White Sox. Johnson, with whom the Sox allegedly had "mutual interest", ended up signing with the Yankees for $5.5 million. Damon, whom the Sox have inquired about a couple times before, remains unsigned.

Both would have been good fits, but there's at least some credibility to a "too expensive" argument. Jonhson's contract is reasonable, but he is a big injury risk. Damon's contract demands were so ridiculous that he remains unsigned four days away from February.

There was one other player, however, who Williams lumped into the too expensive category that I have to call him out on. In this Trib article, Mark Gonzales writes that the Sox were not able to pursue free agent infielder Chad Tracy because he was too expensive.

Really, Kenny?

Tracy is nothing more than a dime-a-dozen, run-of-the-mill bench player, his arrival would do little for the team and I couldn't care less that the Sox passed on him. But who is Kenny kidding with the "too expensive" routine?

Today, the Cubs signed Tracy, the same player that Sox liked but allegedly found too expensive, to a minor league contract. If he makes the big club, he'll earn $900,000, plus performance incentives. For comparison's sake, that is $600,000 less than Mark Kotsay will make this year.

Look, I'm all for Kenny running misdirections with the media with respect to his spending. Half of the time he goes out and splurges very soon after he cries poor. Who knows what he has up his sleeve, exactly. But please show everyone some respect: don't tell us a minor league deal for less than a million bucks is a deal-breaker.

What would be more frustrating, seeing the Sox pass on a $900,000 player they liked because he was too expensive, or seeing Jim Thome suit up in a Twins uniform? Oh, wait...

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