PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks hold a $7 million option on infielder Chad Tracy for next season, and it's fairly obvious what they plan to do with it.
Tracy has collected only 243 at-bats in 91 games this season, sitting much of the time while Arizona has tried out younger (and cheaper) players such as Josh Whitesell and now Brandon Allen at first base.
Tracy missed most of June with a strained oblique, then rehabbed for 10 games at Triple-A Reno, but his problem now is not physical. He was hitting .226 entering Friday's game against San Diego, stuck in an 0-for-17 rut but was still batting .357 in his last 17 pinch-hitting appearances.
"I'm fine," Tracy said. "I feel great. It's just a transitional period. There's really no way to prepare for the role. You just go through it and try to do your best."
Tracy, a 29-year-old former Sidewinder standout, rose to the majors in 2004 and signed a three-year deal worth $13.25 million in 2006. He is earning $4.75 million this season.
The D-backs sat 21 games under .500 entering Friday's game, a low San Diego reached on July 27. Yet the Padres have changed direction since then, going 33-21 while winning 13 of 17 series. As a result, the Padres entered Friday's game 4 1/2 games ahead of Arizona and the NL West cellar.
"They've shown a relentless nature," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "They've put on some late rallies and been able to shut the door when they have a lead. They have a very youthful roster that plays with a lot of energy."
Third baseman Mark Reynolds was named the D-backs' MVP in awards voting announced Friday by the Arizona chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America, while outfielder Gerardo Parra was named rookie of the year.
Dan Haren was named most valuable pitcher, and catcher Miguel Montero received the "good guy" award for media relations.