Kratz, 39, will return for a yet another stint in the Yankees organization and bring a highly respected clubhouse veteran to the team’s catching depth chart. New York originally acquired Kratz in a cash deal with the Indians back in 2017, and this marks the third time the Yanks have signed him to a minor league contract since that deal. With Austin Romine departing to the Tigers on a one-year deal, Kyle Higashioka is the expected backup to Gary Sanchez, but Kratz seems likely to vie for a roster spot in Spring Training.
The veteran Kratz has spent parts of 10 seasons in the Majors, logging a collective .205/.252/.354 batting line through 921 plate appearances. He’s halted 32 percent of stolen-base attempts against him in his career and regularly puts up strong numbers in terms of both pitch framing and blocking pitches in the dirt. He’ll turn 40 next June but nevertheless enjoyed a .299/.375/.500 slash in 176 plate appearances with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in Scranton last year. Given that Kratz and his family live close to the Scranton area, he’ll have the opportunity to continue playing close to home even if he doesn’t break camp with the Yankees’ Major League club.