The Brewers are facing a decision on veteran catcher Erik Kratz, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel details. With Yasmani Grandal and Manny Pina ahead of Kratz on the depth chart, Kratz’s days with the organization seem numbered. The 38-year-old is out of minor league options, and the Brewers only plan to carry two catchers on the roster to open the season. A move to either trade Kratz or attempt to pass him through outright waivers seems inevitable, and president of baseball ops David Stearns was candid about Kratz’s roster status. “We’ve tried to keep him posted on what’s going on,” said Stearns. “…It’s a balance between trying to preserve your injury insurance and trying to assess the market and what’s out there. We’ll continue to balance that, but I imagine that resolution will happen close to the end of camp.” Stearns added that he Brewers are “sensitive to do right by the player” in searching for other opportunities, while Kratz himself had nothing but praise for the professionalism with which the organization has handled the situation.
More on the NL Central…
- Michael Wacha is very cognizant of the fact that this could be his final Spring Training with the Cardinals, writes Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A free agent after the season, Wacha has already watched the Cardinals extend teammate Miles Mikolas (on a four-year, $68MM deal). Wacha called the contract “awesome” for Mikolas adding that his teammate is a “stud pitcher and great off the field.” As far as his own contract status, however, Wacha stressed the importance of not getting caught up in that sort of thing with the season approaching. The 2012 first-rounder was limited to 84 1/3 innings last season due to an oblique injury, but he was sharp when on the field, working to a 3.20 ERA with 7.6 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.96 HR/9 and a 43.2 percent grounder rate. He’ll be the youngest established starter available in free agency next winter, so a healthy season is particularly crucial.
- Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette breaks down the Pirates’ shortstop battle between Erik Gonzalez and 2015 first-rounder Kevin Newman. Gonzalez, acquired from the Indians this offseason, is out of minor league options, so he’ll break camp with the club whether it’s as a starter at short or as a versatile utility piece. However, if Gonzalez beats out Newman for the starting role, it seems likelier that Newman would head to Triple-A for regular at-bats. Pablo Reyes and Cole Tucker are both in the mix as well, although Tucker has yet to even play a game in Triple-A and would seem like a long shot at this juncture. If neither Newman nor Tucker breaks camp with the team, Reyes could also be in line to earn a bench role as a utility piece. It’s a roster battle with numerous layers, which Brink discusses with GM Neal Huntington as well as several of the players involved.