Following injuring his left-hand last night, Francisco Cervelli has been placed on the disabled list by the Pittsburgh Pirates who have also acquired catcher Erik Kratz from the Angels.
Well, this sucks. Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli broke the hamate bone in his left-hand last night, had surgery this morning, and will now miss four to six weeks. Chris Stewart will now take over as the Pittsburgh Pirates starting catcher, and the Pirates have acquired Erik Kratz from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to back up Stewart during this time.
Erik Kratz has split time between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Triple-A team this season. Kratz had 28 at bats for the Astros, and he struck out in 14 (!!) of them. This resulted in Kratz’s slashing .069/.100/.103/.203 on the season, to go along with a .094 wOBA and a -55 wRC+. His numbers at Triple-A were not much better, as he hit just .231 with a .209 wOBA and a wRC+ of 28.
If Erik Kratz’s name sounds familiar, if not it’s okay and understandable, that is because he has played for the Pittsburgh Pirates before. Kratz was in the Pittsburgh Pirates system in 2009 and 2010, and made it to the Major Leagues in 2010 when he posted a -23 wRC+ and hit just .118. Erik Kratz really has no business being on a Major League roster, but the Pittsburgh Pirates are currently in a pickle at catcher.
Elias Diaz being on the Minor League disabled list really hurts the Pittsburgh Pirates now. All along the plan was if something were to happen to Francisco Cervelli, Diaz, who is one of the Pirates’ top ten prospects, would be called upon to be the starting catcher. Diaz has the strongest throwing arm of any catcher in the Pirate system, is a great pitch framer, and brings some pop to the table. Unfortunately, he will still be out for quite a while after having elbow surgery a few weeks ago.
In all honesty, I hate the acquisition of Erik Kratz. See people who call me a front office apologists, I criticize them at times too! But in all seriousness, Kratz flat-out sucks. The Pittsburgh Pirates should have just called up Jacob Stallings from Triple-A to see what he could do backing up Chris Stewart. Stallings is a strong defender behind the plate, so even if he failed to hit Major League pitching he would at least provide good defense. Something Erik Kratz does not do.
With Francisco Cervelli now out four to six weeks, and there still being no word on Gerrit Cole minus the fact he was scheduled to get a MRI today, last night’s game could prove to be very costly for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hell, when we look back at the end of the season we might be able to point at last night as the night that cost them a postseason birth.
It is very difficult to overcome losing your starting catcher. However, it becomes even more difficult when your starting catcher at Triple-A, who also happens to be one of your top prospects, is also injured. Chris Stewart, we need you dude.