Yankees must get Erik Kratz on coaching staff after retirement announcement
By Adam Weinrib
Yankees 2020 legend Erik Kratz has chosen not to play in 2021, and the team should be on the phone already.
The Yankees were going to have a difficult time fitting quasi-coach Erik Kratz onto their roster again in 2021, but luckily, the man himself stepped in on Friday night to solve that.
Kratz revealed to FanSided’s Robert Murray that he would not be returning for the ’21 season as an active player, stepping away at least for the time being.
This should be a gift for the Yankees, though. After all, Kratz’s destiny has always been to remain in the organization as an instructor, a mentor, and, yes, as Deivi Garcia’s padre.
And even though he appears ready to hang ’em up and put his batting gloves on the shelf (just kidding, the man goes barehanded), the Yanks should be on the phone to him immediately about an off-the-field role. After all, when you play and make an impact nearly everywhere over the course of a decade, you’re going to be highly sought-after.
In third-catcher duty in 2020, Kratz hit .321 in 28 at-bats as a 40-year-old in the Bronx, becoming a folk hero during a year where fans tragically couldn’t appreciate him in person.
It was a swan song for the ages, especially considering that Kratz became indispensable during his short tenure as the de facto mentor for Garcia, who was guided through his first MLB start by the man who’d carried him through his time in Scranton.
Throughout his storied journeyman career, Kratz has been a knuckleballer, steady presence and all-time jokester, and every quality that has made him a great depth piece will make him a fantastic bench coach.
If Kratz wants to sit out 2021 in every capacity and finally get some rest, we’d understand that.
But the Yankees at least have to engage with him to determine what role he’d like to play in the years that come. Now’s the time.