ERIK KRATZ, CATCHER
|Born: June 15, 1980
Height: 6′ 4″
Drafted: 29th Round, 866th Overall, 2002
How Acquired: Trade with Angels (for cash)
College: Eastern Mennonite University
Agent: Jackson Management Group
WTM’S PLAYER PROFILE
|Kratz will be in his second go-round with the Pirates. He started his career with the Blue Jays, who employed him as an organizational catcher from the start. After he became eligible for minor league free agency, he signed with the Pirates and, in his second year with them, got his first major league callup due to a rash of catcher injuries. He’s bounced around as a AAAA catcher since then, although he had a good stint as a major league backup with the Phillies. Kratz has solid power. He’s always struck out at a high, but not alarming, rate, and has sometimes drawn walks at a decent rate. He hasn’t had a platoon split in the majors. He’s a solid defensive catcher with a good arm; he’s thrown out 33% of base stealers at the major league level.
The Blue Jays sent Kratz to the Pioneer League, where he hit just decently with very bad plate discipline. He split the team’s catching duties.
Kratz spent most of his time in the New York-Penn League, where he caught and played first. His plate discipline improved markedly and more power came with it, but he was old for the level. He threw out 46% of base stealers on the season.
Kratz got only limited playing time, filling in at three levels.
Although he had little experience in full season ball, the Jays moved Kratz up to AA. Not surprisingly, he struggled at the plate.
Kratz continued to struggle in AA.
Kratz split his time between AA and AAA, still not playing regularly. He hit for good power in AA.
Still splitting his time between AA and AAA in a part-time role, Kratz continued to hit for good power. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Pirates.
The Pirates sent Kratz to Indianapolis, where he spent the season as the primary catcher. He hit very well and threw out 30% of base stealers.
Kratz returned to Indianapolis and continued to hit well. Faced with injuries to their top three catchers, the Pirates called Kratz up in July. He played in nine games, hitting very little but playing well defensively. The Pirates outrighted him in September and he became a free agent after the season. He signed a minor league deal with the Phillies.
The Phillies sent Kratz to AAA and he continued to hit well there. He got called up in September and saw a little action.
The Phillies sent Kratz to AAA at the start of the season. They called him up five separate times as Carlos Ruiz missed time with an injury and Kratz proved to be a better option that back catcher Brian Schneider. Kratz hit for good power in the majors.
Kratz spent most of the season as the Phillies’ backup catcher, but his hitting fell off sharply. He missed a month with a knee injury. After the season, the Phillies traded him to Toronto.
Kratz split his time between AAA and the majors as Toronto called him up four times. His playing time was limited behind Dioner Navarro. Just before the trade deadline, the Jays sent Kratz to Kansas City, where he got very limited time behind Salvador Perez.
Kratz opened the season with the Royals, but he missed a month with plantar fasciitis. He ended up getting most of his playing time on rehab in AAA. The Royals designated him for assignment in June and Boston claimed him off waivers. He never played for the Red Sox, as they immediately designated him for assignment and he refused. He signed a minor league deal with the Mariners at the beginning of July, but was with them for only two weeks in AAA before they released him. This time, Kratz signed with the Phillies, who called him up from AAA at the beginning of September. They designated him for assignment after the season and he became a free agent.
Kratz signed with the Padres in the off-season, but they traded him to the Astros at the end of spring training. He replaced the injured Max Stassi as Houston’s backup catcher. He didn’t hit in very limited chances and Houston released him in May. Kratz signed with the Angels, who sent him to AAA. The Pirates acquired him for cash in June.
The Pirates acquired Kratz when Francisco Cervelli had hamate surgery. With Elias Diaz also out, the Pirates will use Kratz to back up Chris Stewart until Cervelli returns. They’ll probably designate him for assignment once that happens.
UPDATE: Once Cervelli came off the DL, the Pirates designated Kratz for assignment, keeping Eric Fryer over him.
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2002
MLB Debut: 7/17/2010
MiLB FA Eligible: Eligible
MLB FA Eligible: 2017
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 7/16/2010
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2010, 2012, 2014)
MLB Service Time: 3.075
|June 5, 2002: Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 29th round, 866th overall pick.
June 8, 2002: Signed by the Toronto Blue Jays to a minor league contract.
November 3, 2008: Became a free agent.
January 19, 2009: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a free agent.
July 16, 2010: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
September 7, 2010: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates; outrighted to AAA on September 10.
November 6, 2011: Became a free agent.
November 12, 2011: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies.
September 16, 2011: Called up by the Philadelphia Phillies.
December 3, 2013: Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Rob Rasmussen to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brad Lincoln.
July 28, 2014: Traded by the Toronto Blue Jays with Liam Hendricks to the Kansas City Royals for Danny Valencia.
June 11, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Kansas City Royals.
June 21, 2015: Claimed off waivers from the Kansas City Royals by the Boston Red Sox.
June 25, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox; refused assignment to AAA and became a free agent on June 29.
July 2, 2015: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Seattle Mariners.
July 15, 2015: Released by the Seattle Mariners.
July 17, 2015: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies.
September 1, 2015: Called up by the Philadelphia Phillies.
October 7, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Philadelphia Phillies; refused assignment to AAA and became a free agent on October 9.
December 11, 2015: Signed as a minor league free agent by the San Diego Padres.
March 28, 2016: Traded by the San Diego Padres to the Houston Astros for Dan Straily.
May 16, 2016: Designated for assignment by the Houston Astros; released on May 22.
May 26, 2016: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Los Angeles Angels.
June 11, 2016: Traded by the Los Angeles Angels to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations.
June 11, 2016: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
July 19, 2016: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.