Blue Jays reportedly sign veteran catcher Erik Kratz
The Toronto Blue Jays have signed free agent catcher Erik Kratz to a minor league deal, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.
Kratz is expected to report to the triple-A Buffalo Bisons where he will provide the Blue Jays with depth at one of their thinnest positions. The 36-year-old appeared in 34 games for the Blue Jays in 2014.
It’s been a busy 2016 season for Kratz, who was traded from San Diego to Houston in exchange for Dan Straily. After being released by the Astros in late May, Kratz was picked up by the Los Angeles Angels before being purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates in June. He was recently designated for assignment by the Pirates.
Toronto currently has A.J. Jimenez and Tony Sanchez playing with the Bisons, so it remains to be seen how Kratz will fit in defensively.
Kratz has appeared in 224 major league games, hitting .200 with a .610 OPS. Between Houston and Pittsburgh this season, he struggled going 8-for-85 (.094) with one home run. In his career at the triple-A level 483 games, he’s played much better with an .811 OPS and 68 home runs.
In the bigger picture of Toronto’s catching position, September roster expansions will likely see the Blue Jays adding a third catcher to their roster to keep Russell Martin fresh ahead of the playoffs. Josh Thole is entrenched with R.A. Dickey, but his offensive shortcomings could be improved upon if Martin needs a day off elsewhere.