Blue Jays to sign veteran catcher Erik Kratz to minor-league deal

Erik Kratz played for the Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this year. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays are adding some needed catching depth by agreeing to a minor-league deal with veteran Erik Kratz, an industry source told Sportsnet.

Kratz, who played for the Blue Jays in 2014, is expected to join the triple-A Buffalo Bisons Thursday and provide protection at a position where the Blue Jays are very thin.

Starting catcher Russell Martin returned to the lineup Monday after injuring his knee in the shower following a sauna session last week. An MRI showed no structural damage on the 33-year-old Martin, but the incident was a reminder of how few options exist behind him.

Adding Kratz provides the Blue Jays with depth for September, when rosters expand, and October, when he represents another option for Toronto’s potential playoff roster.

Kratz offers power with 24 home runs in 599 career at-bats and a .200/.248/.362 slash line. A right-handed hitter, Kratz played for the Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this year, posting a .258 OPS in 87 plate appearances before becoming a free agent.

The addition of Kratz provides welcome depth for the Blue Jays, whose triple-A catching tandem consisted of A.J. Jimenez and Tony Sanchez until Sanchez obtained his release Thursday. The Blue Jays traded Kratz with Liam Hendriks to Kansas City for Danny Valencia two summers ago.