The Brewers made a significant series of roster moves on Friday, acquiring veteran backstop Erik Kratz from the Yankees in exchange for cash and designating Jett Bandy for assignment to clear a spot on the roster. Both teams have announced the trade. Additionally, Milwaukee announced that shortstop Orlando Arcia and righty Jorge Lopez have been optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs in favor of veteran infielder Eric Sogard and right-hander Adrian Houser.
Set to turn 38 in June, Kratz is off to a .269/.356/.538 start with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate. While he doesn’t have a lengthy track record at the big league level, he’s shown throughout parts of eight big league seasons that he possess some pop, homering 24 times in 649 plate appearances and notching a .163 ISO. Of course, Kratz’s overall .203/.250/.366 slash line in that time has been sub-par and serves to illustrate why his time in the Majors has been sporadic. To his credit, he’s halted 34 percent of stolen-base attempts against him in the Majors and has been similarly effective throughout his minor league career (32 percent).
As for Bandy, the Brewers will have a week to trade him, Ttry to pass him through outright waivers or release him. The 28-year-old showed a bit of promise early in his career with the Angels but has struggled in two seasons with Milwaukee, hitting just .202/.282/.326. While Milwaukee GM David Stearns has made his share of shrewd moves since taking over the team’s baseball operations department, the decision to flip Martin Maldonado to the Angels in exchange for Bandy likely ranks among his most regrettable swaps, as Maldonado has provided more with the bat and also took home an AL Gold Glove last season in his first year with the Halos.
Arcia, meanwhile, looked to have gone a long way toward establishing himself as a regular in the Milwaukee infield last season. After struggling as a 21-year-old in his debut back in 2016, the longtime top prospect hit .277/.324/.407 with 15 home runs and 14 stolen bases last season. The 2018 season, however, has proven to be a full course reversal at the dish.
Through 146 trips to the dish this season, Arcia has mustered a feeble .194/.233/.273 slash with two homers and five doubles. His walk rate is down two percent, his strikeout rate is up five percent, and his 28.6 percent hard-contact rate is considerably south of the league average. Arcia has contributed quality glovework, to be sure, but that apparently wasn’t deemed enough to salvage his spot on the roster for the time being.
Tyler Saladino figures to be the primary beneficiary of the Brewers’ decision to offer Arcia a mental reset of sorts, as he’s hit well in his brief time since being acquired from the White Sox and offers a solid glove in his own right. While the 28-year-old certainly doesn’t possess the same upside as Arcia, who once ranked as one of the game’s 10 to 15 top overall prospects, he’ll serve as a stopgap while Arcia seeks to remedy his swing and improve upon his plate discipline in a lower-pressure setting.