For the second time in less than eight months Erik Kratz has been traded, this time to the Kansas City Royals. The former Eastern Mennonite University baseball player figures to be the backup catcher in Kansas City, as the team released backup Brett Hayes to make room on the roster. All-Star Salvador Perez is the starting catcher.
The Toronto Blue Jays had traded for Kratz this past December, but sent him to Kansas City in an effort to get another infielder on their roster. He and pitcher Liam Hendricks were part of a deal which sent infielder Danny Valencia to Toronto. The trade was completed on Monday and Kratz is expected to be in uniform Tuesday night when the Royals host Minnesota. Kansas City is Kratz’s fourth big league club since 2010, as he also played for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
He split the first half of this season between the Toronto Blue Jays and their Triple-A team in Buffalo (N.Y.). In 34 games with the Blue Jays, he was batting .198 with three homeruns and 10 RBIs. Kratz was batting .299 with three homers and 17 RBIs in 27 games with the Triple-A Bisons.
Despite the midseason trade, Kratz maintains his position on a team fighting for the playoffs. Both Kansas City and Toronto are currently in second place in their respective divisions and in the hunt for a wild card spot.
Kratz maintained his characteristic positive attitude about both teams in two messages on his Twitter account.
“Thanks @BlueJays organization for the opportunity to play for such a wonderful team and city. My family and I are grateful for your support! Now look forward to our new beginning with the @Royals. See you soon KC! #blessed.”
Kratz was a four-year starter behind the plate for EMU’s Royals, he set the NCAA record for career doubles at 77 and broke 27 program records.
Kratz had his jersey retired at EMU and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Honor in 2012.