Former catcher Erik Kratz recently levied some eyebrow-raising allegations of sign-stealing against a couple of National League teams while a guest with John J. Filippelli and Kevin Sullivan on Curtain Call of the YES Network. When asked for his opinion about the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, Kratz said, “I can tell you that a team that has been to the World Series often recently, we caught them doing something almost similar.”
Since the Dodgers are the only team to have been to the World Series multiple times in recent years (besides the Astros), it seems Kratz is implying the Dodgers took part in some kind of sign-stealing during the 2018 season. He did not expound any further about their specific actions in this podcast, and did not name the Dodgers directly.
Robert Murray of The Athletic wrote in October 2018 during the NLCS between the Dodgers and Brewers, “There is concern among some Brewers that the Dodgers are using video to pick up their signs,” adding, “Others in the organization are unsure.” That article made clear that the Brewers understood that stealing signs from the dugout or basepaths was fair play, while the use of technology would be crossing a line – the commonly held stance on the issue. Murray reported that the Brewers told MLB’s video room security people of their suspicions, but “The security personnel responded that they had not detected anything.”
On the recent podcast, Kratz made a more specific claim against the Rockies, saying, “…And I can also tell you, cause I don’t really care, I don’t know anybody over there: the Colorado Rockies were doing the exact same thing in 2018…They used to take a Theragun and bang it on their metal bench. And they were doing the exact same thing from the TV. So, there you go. If you think no one else was doing it, you are wrong. The difference is, the Astros may have taken it a little too far.”
Kratz’s point on the whole seemed to be that he thought the Astros were being singled out for actions that were more widespread throughout the game. Certainly, the treatment of sign-stealing as a singular instance of misconduct has been a concern expressed elsewhere. That said, Kratz’s comments are certain to require some follow-up by MLB, given the specific allegations.
For context, Kratz was a member of the Brewers during the 2018 season. The Brewers played both the Rockies and Dodgers that postseason, defeating Colorado in the NLDS and falling to Los Angeles in a seven-game NLCS. He was also a member of the Astros briefly during the 2016 season, prior to the time of the sign-stealing allegations.
Kratz last played in 2020 in a part-time capacity for the Yankees. He made the decision not to play in 2021, presumably ending his playing career. Over 11 years since 2010 when he made his debut as a 30-year-old for the Pirates, Kratz played for nine teams, slashing .209/.256/.355 over 951 plate appearances.