The San Francisco Giants have designated veteran catcher Erik Kratz for assignment. They now have one week to trade, release or pass him through waivers.
For much of the offseason, the San Francisco Giants cast a wide net for potential backup catcher options, eventually settling on Erik Kratz to serve as the primary backup to Buster Posey to open the year.
The 38-year-old Kratz became a cult hero of sorts with the Milwaukee Brewers last season when he came up with some clutch hits down the stretch and served as an important veteran voice on a young team.
With the emergence of former All-Star Stephen Vogt from Triple-A and the recent call-up of prospect Aramis Garcia, Kratz was designated for assignment on Monday afternoon.
If he goes unclaimed, the Giants could try to stash him in Triple-A, but he can reject any minor league assignment and opt for free agency.
He made it into 15 games during his time in San Francisco, hitting .125/.222/.281 with two doubles and one home run in 36 plate appearances.
The enduring moment from his brief tenure with the team will be his walk-off fielder’s choice in the 18th inning of a marathon game with the Colorado Rockies on April 12th. He was behind the plate for all 18 innings in that one.
Once Buster Posey returns from the injured list, the Giants will have to decide between optioning Garcia back to Triple-A or carrying three catchers on the active roster.
As for Kratz, he may have to settle for a minor league role for the time being. Otherwise, he can hang around in free agency and wait for an injury to create a potential opportunity.
While he’s never been a star, he proved useful on a contender last season, and teams are always looking for veterans to help anchor the pitching staff and the clubhouse.
Expect this roster churning to continue throughout the 2019 season as the Giants try to find value on the waiver wire at the cost of underperforming veterans on the active roster.