“But why do the Phillies need three catchers?” Brian Schneider wondered as the shadow of Ruben Amaro ominously collected itself around him.
The truth is, they do not. What that means for Brian and my new home made shirsey remains to be seen. What it means for former Lehigh Valley Ironpig catcher Erik Kratz is more Major League at-bats. For Brian it probably means less. And for me it still means none, regardless of whose shirsey I’m wearing.
Yes, another prospect has made it to the Phillies’ big club, which is always exciting. What if he shatters all preconceived notions and is great? It could happen. And for the first time this season, someone is entering the lineup who could feasibly give it more power. Kratz will be doing more hitting than catching (in truth, he most likely isn’t replacing Schneider)–he’s replacing a wounded Jim Thome, whose time on the DL will be spent making serious life decisions–which means he will be given exactly three entire at bats to get his shit together, after which we will give him one further chance to come through in a big, inspirational opportunity, and if he fails, bitch about him without mercy until he’s gone.
So who is Erik Kratz, besides a name you read every year around Spring Training and then not again until late September? Well, he was selected by the Blue Jays in the 29th round of the 2002 draft, which means, yes, he’s 31 years old. So the “prospect” label, which may have put a Freddy Galvis-esque youngster image in your head, isn’t exactly applicable.
He’s been stuffed down in the minors for over a decade, catching quick glimpses of The Show for the last two years as a September call-up. But outside of that, he’s been given no prolonged chances with the Phillies until now, and given his penchant for tearing into Triple-A pitching, and a spot open, there’s no better time than now to try a… thing.
But the truth is, a lot of this has to do with Kratz being on the 40-man roster. The 40-man roster, of course, is a magical list of names of people whom you can use on your baseball team. With Kratz’s tenure somewhat up in the air, the Phillies would like to retain the ability to send him back down to the minors whenever they want. It’s the magic of the game!
“Hahaha what game are we playing?” Brian Schneider asked, walking up to the conversation. Everyone got very quiet and the group disbanded.