NEW YORK — Erik Kratz once promised that he would buy his daughter a puppy when he had played in his last big league game. This offseason has delivered the sweetest of dog days for the veteran catcher.
“We bought the puppy, and we’re enjoying it,” Kratz said on Friday
NEW YORK —
“We bought the puppy, and we’re enjoying it,” Kratz said on Friday via a video posted to his social media. “It’s time to be home.”
The 40-year-old Kratz completed his playing career with the Yankees this past season, batting .321/.367/.393 in 16 regular-season games.
“My next season will not be as a player, that’s for sure,” Kratz said. “I am deciding to not play. I don’t really know how to say it; I feel like if I say I’m retiring, that’s conceited, to announce my retirement. I feel like the guys who get to retire are the Hall of Famers, the fringe Hall of Famers, the franchise players.”
The video is probably too long, but thank you to @MiLB @MLB @Pirates @Phillies @BlueJays @Royals @RedSox @astros @Yankees @Brewers @SFGiants @RaysBaseball fans. https://t.co/MzYJBQ5B7v
— Erik Kratz (@ErikKratz31) November 6, 2020
The Yankees thought highly of Kratz, who served as a guiding presence for the team’s young pitching staff. Kratz’s impact was particularly strong with rookie right-hander Deivi García, who made his big league debut with Kratz behind the plate on Aug. 30.
At the time, Kratz said that he would consider coaching opportunities once his playing career concluded. Kratz appeared on the Yankees’ roster during the American League Wild Card Series against the Indians, but he did not play. He was in the player pool for the AL Division Series against the Rays.
“I’ve experienced the playoffs with other teams in other years, but this one was definitely unique,” Kratz said. “[Playing with] no fans kind of takes away some of the playoff environment, but it doesn’t take away the playoff excitement. You know what you’re playing for.”
Drafted by the Blue Jays in 2002, Kratz reached the big leagues with the Pirates in ’10 and wore nine uniforms in the Majors, suiting up for the Bucs (2010, ‘16), Phillies (2011-13, ‘15), Blue Jays (’14), Royals (2014-15), Astros (’16), Yankees (2017, ‘20), Brewers (’18), Giants (’19) and Rays (’19).
In 332 big league games, Kratz batted .209/.256/.355 with 31 home runs and 105 RBIs. He also logged 3,419 at-bats in the Minors and made seven big league pitching appearances, including two outings for the Yankees this past season in which he showcased his knuckleball.
“There’s no way that I could ever thank everybody that helped me in my career,” Kratz said. “Every single person that’s been in my life throughout my career has been an integral part. I just want to say thank you to everybody who followed my career. I’m excited to be home and figure out what my next stage is.”