Yankees sign veteran catcher Erik Kratz to minor league deal for organizational depth


According to reports, the Yankees signed veteran catcher Erik Kratz to a minor league deal for organizational depth. Gary Sanchez and Kyle Hiashioka are still the only catchers on the 40-man roster but now they have Kratz to backup in case of an injury.

After Austin Romine signed with the Tigers last week there was talk that the Yankees might pursue another catcher but now it looks like there comfortable rolling into the 2020 season with Higashioka as the primary backup. It’s a much-deserved promotion for Higgy after spending the last two seasons on the Scranton shuttle quite a bit.

Kratz returns for a third stint with the Yankees organization after spending time with the big league club in September of 2017 and last season with Triple-A Scranton. The 39-year-old has played in parts of 10 big league seasons for nine different clubs and holds a career .205 BA with 31 HR and 101 RBI. As a Yankee, he’s hit a perfect 1.000 with two RBI in two at-bats.

Now that Higgy is out of options the Yankees needed to sign someone to be their Triple-A catcher and Kratz should be perfect for that role. He’s been a consummate professional everywhere he’s been and he’ll do a great job handling the Railriders pitching staff and preparing top prospects like Deivi Garcia and Mike King for life in the big leagues.

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Given Gary Sanchez’s injury history odds are we’ll see Kratz at some point in the Bronx next season, but hopefully not until September when rosters expand. As good as both Kratz and Higgy are defensively neither one of them poses much of a threat offensively. That’s why the Yanks need Sanchez to stay healthy more than ever before and produce at an All-Star level for the full 162 game schedule.

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The Yankee farm system isn’t very deep with catching prospects, especially with guys who are close to making it to the big leagues. I’m sure Brian Cashman would like to add another backstop before Spring Training to pair with Kratz at Triple-A because there’s no reason for him to get the large majority of the reps behind the plate at his age.