Erik Kratz is a longtime journeyman, and a distinguished one at that. During last year’s playoffs, Kratz’s buddies attended a game wearing jerseys from all seven of the big league teams Kratz has played for. Now, an eighth jersey needs to be added to the bunch. On Sunday, the San Francisco Giants picked up the veteran catcher to serve as a backup to Buster Posey.
San Francisco made room for Kratz by sending Minor League infielder C.J. Hinojosa to the Brewers and designating right-handed pitcher José López for assignment.
Manager Bruce Bochy said he’ll have Kratz catch as many of the Giants’ pitchers as possible before the season officially starts on March 29. Come opening day, the Giants are planning to have Kratz on the roster, although the details are still fuzzy.
Going into the season, San Francisco hasn’t decided whether to carry two or three catchers (… or four, or five, or six), but odds are they’ll have an abundance, given that Aramis Garcia, Posey and Kratz are all viable options behind the plate (so is Pablo Sandoval, but it’s unclear whether he’ll make the Opening Day roster). Bochy also said the Giants haven’t decided whether to carry 12 or 13 pitchers, but if Kratz and Garcia both make the cut, it follows that a 12-man pitching staff becomes more likely.
“Farhan [Zaidi, president of baseball operations] and I will sit down tomorrow and talk about what we want to do,” Bochy told MLB.com. “I don’t know Kratz, but he’s an experienced guy, and I’ve heard good things about him. Garcia has done a nice job this spring.”
Kratz’s wealth of experience in the league will be an advantage as he makes the switch over to the Giants, especially in the condensed time-frame he’ll have to get comfortable with the Giants’ pitching staff.
“It’s not up to them to adjust,” Kratz said of San Francisco’s pitchers. “It’s up to me to adjust to what they want to do. It’s not on them; they have a bigger responsibility. It’s my responsibility to get on the same page as them.”