Jett Bandy was acquired for Martin Maldonado from the California Angels before last season in an exchange of back-up catchers. Bandy was expected to provide more pop at the plate than the defensive minded Machete, but his bat has been mired in a slump since a good start last season. Maldy has become an All Star with the Angels.
Erik Kratz isn’t a prospect. He is a back-up catcher...and a big one! He’s 6’4” and 250 lbs. Over his big league career he has garnered 601 at bats, 0.2 WAR, with 24 homeruns and 75 RBI. His career OPS is .616. Bandy’s OPS this season is .533, with a career ops of .647 over 444 at bats.
Kratz’ major league career began in 2010 with the Phillies, and he has also played in Toronto, Kansas City, Houston, and Pittsburgh to go along with his Yankee tenure. (BTW, he had an OPS of 2.500 for New York last season...in two at bats.)
Kratz started in the Toronto system in 2002, and his career minor league slash is .257/.334/.443 for a solid OPS of .777. He has 127 homers in 3703 plate appearances.
The Brewers might not have gone out and picked up Kratz if Jacob Nottingham was healthy, but unfortunately he is sidelined on the minor league DL. He has posted promising numbers in AAA this year (.354/.427/.658, OPS 1.085) with seven doubles, a triple, and five homers in 89 plate appearances, and may get another opportunity to return to the MLB when healthy. Christian Bethancourt has also hit well for the Sky Sox, so it will be intereting to see what explanation the org offers for going after Kratz instead.
Bandy has been designated for assignment, so it remains to be seen if he is dealt, traded, released, or kept for organizational depth (if he is willing).