The Houston Astros and Padres Exchange Players About to be Cut
The Houston Astros made a puzzling move Monday afternoon when they sent backup catcher favorite Tyler Heineman to minor league camp among eight other cuts. That left Roberto Pena as the backup catcher with no experience above Double-A who’s nickname is apparently Bert. Heineman, at least, had the experience in Triple-A during the regular season and the playoffs in Fresno.
The Astros obviously didn’t feel like either player would be a good option, so it was obviously no secret that the Astros were out there looking for a catcher on waivers or via trade. The sexy names were Bryan Holaday, A.J. Jimenez, and Carlos Corporan. These names were obviously too much for the Astros, who were hoping to spin Dan Straily to another team for a backup catcher while Max Stassi recovers from hand surgery.
Late last night, the Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich was the first to Tweet that the Astros had made a trade with the San Diego Padres involving Straily for 30-year-old catcher Erik Kratz. No, he’s not the guy you probably had your sights on, be he is a veteran guy who can fill in until Stassi is ready to return.
The more important thing to look at was the fact that that’s all the Astros could get for Straily, who they were probably have had to pass through waivers. They got something for Straily following his four-inning shutout performance in a showcase start for other teams.
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As Jeff Luhnow said, you have to give up something to get something, and we gave up something valuable to another team for something we needed in the short term. We weren’t going to get Holaday or Jimenez for just Straily, so they found the best option they could to fill a need. If something were to happen to Castro, not sure Kratz is the option, but it gives Pena and Heineman more time to develop.
In a small sample size last year, Kratz hit .192/ 0 homers/ 3 RBI’s between the Royals and Phillies. He hit nine home runs each season for two years between 2012 and 2013 with the Phillies as the backup guy. What are the Astros expecting from Kratz, let’s see what A.J. Hinch had to say about it following the trade last night via Evan Drellich?
“He’s a veteran guy who has been around, and he’s been through a couple of teams. I know pitchers love throwing to him, he has some home run power, and there is a steadiness about him. Our scouts like him. I have got some text messages from pitchers in the Padres camp who have raved about him,” Hinch via Drellich.
He is a defensive catcher with some power, the question is can he throw runners out better than Hank Conger? He has caught 35 of 110 would be base stealers, meaning he has only caught 28% of the steal attempts. Maybe he’s a good framer, either way, he is the backup to Jason Castro. Pena will stay with the Astros through the two games versus the Brewers this week, then will report to Triple-A or wherever.
**Stats from Baseball-Reference**