The Blue Jays and veteran catcher Erik Kratz have agreed to a minor league pact, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. He’ll join Triple-A Buffalo and provide the organization with some depth behind the plate. Kratz was designated for assignment by Pittsburgh last week and elected free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment to the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate.
Kratz, 36, has spent time with the Astros and Pirates at the big league level this season but struggled to a .094/.105/.153 batting line in 87 plate appearances. He entered the season with 23 home runs and a .218/.270/.397 batting line as a Major Leaguer though, demonstrating solid pop for a catcher even if his average and OBP skills are typically lacking. He’s also halted an above-average 34 percent of stolen base attempts against him over the life of his career and drawn consistently strong marks in the pitch-framing department from Baseball Prospectus.
This will be the second stint with the Blue Jays for the Jackson Management Group client, who appeared in 34 games with Toronto back in 2014. Kratz will join Tony Sanchez and A.J. Jimenez in a now somewhat crowded catching mix at Triple-A.