Erik Kratz Returns to the Milwaukee Brewers on One-Year Deal

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 15: Erik Kratz #15 of the Milwaukee Brewers gestures toward the Brewers dugout after hitting a double to left field during the seventh inning of Game Three of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 15, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Milwaukee Brewers have 13 arbitration-eligible players this off-season. However, they were able to avoid arbitration with veteran catcher Erik Kratz by signing the 38-year-old to a one-year contract on Tuesday night.

Erik Kratz Returns to the Milwaukee Brewers on One-Year Deal

Kratz split time with fellow backstop Manny Pina behind the plate throughout the 2018 season. Despite his poor offensive numbers (70 wRC+ and .634 OPS), he was able to give the Brewers plenty of value. When Kratz was behind the plate, Brewers pitchers posted a strong 3.42 ERA. He was also one of the better pitch framers in baseball, accumulating 9.9 framing runs despite playing part-time.

Kratz gained some fame during the National League Division Series when he went 5-for-8 at the plate in his first taste of playoff baseball. He had a double, a run scored, two RBI, and just one strikeout while playing in two games of the three-game sweep. Unfortunately, Kratz was just 2-for-16 (.125) with five strikeouts while appearing in all seven games of the NLCS. He finished the postseason with a .292/.346/.375 slash over nine games between the NLDS and NLCS.

Under his new contract, Kratz will be guaranteed $300K and will receive a $1.2 million guarantee if he makes the major-league roster out of spring training. The deal also includes award bonuses.

While he’s not going to wow anyone with the bat, Kratz is a good player to have in the clubhouse and behind the plate. It’s possible that the Brewers will still add another catcher, but Kratz gives them a solid security blanket at the position.

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