SF Giants: Former Catcher Steps Away from Baseball
Former SF Giants catcher Erik Kratz has signaled he will not be continuing his playing career in 2021.
The long-time veteran backstop has appeared with nine different teams, including the SF Giants, but stopped short of saying he is retiring via a video he posted on his social media:
"“My next season will not be as a player, that’s for sure. I am deciding to not play. I don’t really know how to say it; I feel like if I say I’m retiring, that’s conceited, to announce my retirement. I feel like the guys who get to retire are the Hall of Famers, the fringe Hall of Famers, the franchise players.”"
If this is indeed the end of his career, no one could have envisioned him playing for as long as he did when he was originally selected in the 29th round of the 2002 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.
In parts of 11 seasons, the right-handed bat slashed a .209/.256/.355 line (65 OPS+) with 31 home runs and 105 RBI. He was never known for his bat, so anything he produced in the batter’s box was a bonus.
However, the 40-year-old was known for his tremendous clubhouse presence and work behind the plate including strong pitch framing and managing the running game.
When the SF Giants were thin on catching depth heading into the 2019 season, they swung a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for the veteran backstop. His time would be short as he produced just a .503 OPS in 35 plate appearances. However, he did end one, very long game in his short stay:
The Giants designated him for assignment but worked out a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and they received an intriguing pitching prospect in Matt Seelinger.
Perhaps, the best moment of his career took place with the Brewers in the 2018 postseason. While facing off against the Colorado Rockies, the veteran catcher went 5-8 with two RBI while leading the Brewers to a series win.
There was another really cool moment from that playoff run:
Kratz has played with a lot of teams, and impressively, he has enough friends to wear the jerseys of the teams he has played.
While Kratz indicated that he wanted to spend more time with his family, I would guess there is a coaching career in his future. Hats off to a very nice career!