June 17, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals first basemanChad Tracy
(18) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Nationals 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The Goon Squad will officially have to find a new captain, as Chad Tracy has signed a Minor League contract with the Los Angeles Angels.
Tracy, who played with the Nationals from 2011-2012, was the self-proclaimed leader of the team’s bench, better known as the ‘Goon Squad’, throughout his two seasons with the club. Tracy’s best year with the Nationals came in 2012, when he posted a .269/.343/.441 line as a pinch-hitter.The 33-year-old Tracy was a key player for the Nationals in 2012, providing key pinch hits throughout the season which would eventually help the Nationals win the division.
Despite his strong 2012 performance, Tracy struggled in 2013- posting a .202/.243/.326 line in just 136 plate appearances for the team. The bench was arguably the weakest link for the Nationals in 2013, and Tracy was certainly a part of the problem. It’s hard to tell what went wrong with Tracy in 2013, as he played the same role with the team as he did in 2012.
Regardless of why he struggled in his last year with the team, Tracy will now be playing in the American League, where hopefully for him he can rekindle the flame that helped the Nationals go to the playoffs in 2012.
Tracy’s departure officially puts an end to the original Goon Squad that helped the Nationals during their magical 2012 season. Along with Tracy, Steve Lombardozzi, Rick Ankiel, Mark DeRosa and Roger Bernadina (all key players to the Nationals bench over the last two seasons) have also moved on to either retirement or other teams.
With Tracy going to the Angels, a new Goon Squad era has officially begun for the Nationals, one that seems poised to help the team play deep into October in 2014. We can only hope that this year’s squad will provide the same magic as Tracy’s did back in 2012.