Phillies Stay or Go: Erik Kratz

Phillies Stay or Go: Erik Kratz
October 14, 2013, 11:00 am
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Erik Kratz's slugging percentage dipped by 118 points from 2012 to 2013. (USA Today Images)

Stay or Go?

Monday: Roy Halladay
Tuesday: Carlos Ruiz
Wednesday: Kevin Frandsen
Thursday: Antonio Bastardo
Friday: John Mayberry, Jr.
Saturday: Kyle Kendrick
Sunday: Phillippe Aumont
Monday: Erik Kratz
Tuesday: Ethan Martin

The Phillies' first losing season since 2002 is sure to bring wholesale changes in the offseason. But who should stay and who should go? Over the next two weeks, we're asking that very question and putting players under the microscope.

Erik Kratz

Position: Catcher

Status: Under Phillies' control through end of 2017; made $496,000 in 2013

Signature game of 2013

Tied with the Cardinals at home, 3-3, in their 19th game of the season, the Phillies used a Ben Revere single to take a one-run lead in the eighth inning, before Erik Kratz hit a titanic three-run blast to left field off fireballer Mitchell Boggs. It gave the Phillies an exhilarating win over a team that is poised to reach the World Series.

Kratz also had an excellent run of games from May 24-June 7, hitting five home runs and driving in a run in 12 of 13 games.

Season as a whole

Kratz finally made an opening-day roster in 2013 after starting the previous 11 seasons in the minor leagues. He had earned it, impressing Phillies officials in 2012 by hitting for power and nabbing 45 percent of would-be base-stealers with his seated snap throws to second base.

But Kratz was hurt and mostly ineffective in 2013, hitting .213 for the season and providing little pop after the first week of June. He also struggled to throw runners out -- they were 33 for 42 off him.

Kratz's power numbers were almost exactly as they were the previous season. Just as he did in 2012, he hit nine homers and had 26 RBIs, albeit in 61 more plate appearances.

He had a homer and three RBIs in the final game of the season, but in the 25 contests leading up to that Kratz hit .155 with no homers and one RBI.

With the Phillies' catching situation in flux -- Carlos Ruiz is a free agent likely to be brought back and Tommy Joseph, Cameron Rupp, Andrew Knapp and Sebastian Valle are backstops not ready for everyday major-league work -- Kratz may figure into the Phils' plans again by default.

Stay or Go?

Teams always need catching depth, and that should be exactly what Kratz provides. A realistic scenario could see Kratz compete in spring training with Rupp -- who made it up to The Show in September -- for the backup catching job. Whoever loses out could start the season at Triple A Lehigh Valley and be the first man up when an eventual injury to a catcher occurs.

In the black-and-white world of this "Stay or Go" series, Kratz is a shade of gray. He'll likely stay in the organization because he has major-league experience and is still very inexpensive, but if Rupp out-produces him at all in the spring, Kratz's hold on the backup job would be tenuous at best.

What they're saying ...

“We don't have anybody who is going to step in. [Cameron] Rupp has done a nice job. [Erik] Kratz, when he played, did OK. But I can't anoint either one of those guys as an everyday catcher.”

--Ruben Amaro Jr. on the Phillies’ catching situation, 9/28/13