Erik Kratz was designated for assignment.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) May 13, 2019
The Giants needed to open up a spot on the 25-man roster for outfielder Aaron Altherr, whom the Giants claimed off of waivers. Altherr is set to be activated on Tuesday before the team begins their two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Kratz being DFA’d could be seen a mile away. Though he began the season on the roster, the veteran’s time in San Francisco was always destined to be short.
At 38, he had no long-term fit with the team, and as a defense-first backup, building up his trade value was never particularly likely. Though the team never said it out loud, it was clear when they signed Kratz at the end of training camp that he was a stopgap until Stephen Vogt was up to speed.
Vogt had his contract purchased from Sacramento on May 1, and two days later Kratz hit the 10-day IL with a severe case of general soreness (retroactive to the 1st).
Shortly before Kratz came off the IL, Buster Posey joined him there, and up came Aramis Garcia.
Kratz’s return from the land of rotating phantom injuries gave the Giants three catchers on the 25-man roster, with Posey hopefully set to return soon.
Obviously, something had to give.
Despite the timing - he was DFA’d a day after a catcher’s interference and passed ball led to two unearned runs - Kratz did exactly what the Giants asked of him. The team has been mashing the DFA button all year long, but Kratz became the first casualty who held up his end of the bargain.
Gerardo Parra, Yangervis Solarte, and Pat Venditte played poorly. Connor Joe, Michael Reed, and Mike Gerber struggled mightily in extremely tiny samples before (presumably) better options were found.
Kratz, on the other hand, was exactly as advertised. He didn’t hit - he slashed a pitcheresque just .125/.222/.281 - but his defense was strong, and he was reliable. That’s exactly what the team expected, and wanted.
But Vogt, and arguably Garcia, are better options, and on a team constructed like this one, an offensively-anemic backup just isn’t worth the valuable roster slot.
Kratz may clear waivers and head to Sacramento, or the Giants may be able to get an itty-bitty return for him in a trade.
Fare thee well, Erik Kratz. We’ll always have this: