Kratz signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees on Tuesday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Kratz opted for free agency after declining an outright assignment from the Yankees at the start of November. He only appeared in four games at the big-league level this past season with New York, instead spending the majority of the year in Triple-A. The veteran catcher will likely provide depth in the minors once again after re-upping on a new deal.
Kratz will hit the open market after declining an outright assignment from the Yankees on Thursday. Kratz will look to latch on with a club within the next couple months as the offseason starts to unfold. The catcher was traded from Cleveland to New York in late August, and only played in four major-league games with the team, although he did go 2-for-2 with two RBI during those contests.
Kratz's contract was selected from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday. He will struggle to see much playing time this month, but most teams add a third catcher in September, and Kratz was the Yankees' choice to fill that role. Kratz was only acquired by the Yankees on Thursday, and had a .270/.359/.472 slash line with 13 home runs in 86 games with the Indians' Triple-A affiliate prior to the trade.
Kratz was dealt to the Yankees on Thursday in exchange for cash considerations. Kratz will provide depth at the catcher position for the Yankees following the suspensions of Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine, which will eventually go into effect. The 37-year-old hasn't played in a major-league game this year, but he was hitting .270/.359/.472 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 86 games with Triple-A Columbus. The Yankees will need to make a move in order to get Kratz on the 40-man roster, but expect him to be up with the big-league team in the near future.
The Indians informed Kratz on Sunday that he wouldn't make the Opening Day roster. The Tribe will go with Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez as their two backstops to begin the season, which will likely force Kratz to head to Triple-A Columbus to begin the campaign. The 36-year-old received 87 plate appearances with the Astros and Pirates last season, slashing just .094/.105/.153.