The Spring Training roster crunch continues. As Opening Day approaches, the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres made a trade Monday, sending right-hander Dan Straily to San Diego for catcher Erik Kratz.
All 30 Major League clubs have been working to pear down their roster to prepare for the regular season, which begins for six teams on Sunday. The move made today could be a sign of things to come, as flurries of semi-major to minor trades are often completed in the days leading up to the beginning of the year.
The Padres' addition of Straily is a curious one. He'll likely serve as bullpen depth for them once their season begins, but it is plenty possible he may have to make at least a start or two this season due to his experience there.
Last season, Straily spent most of the season in the Astros' Triple-A affiliate, and he posted a 4.77 ERA and a 124 to 25 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 122 2/3 innings pitched. He pitched in 22 games, all starts.
As for his entire career, Straily, 27, has a 4.60 ERA and a 4.71 FIP in 260 1/3 innings pitched, working to a 217 to 105 strikeout-to-walk ratio at the big league level. He has spent time with three different clubs to this point.
On the other side of the deal, the Astros' acquisition of Kratz fills a need at backup catcher. Jason Castro will open the season at the starting spot, but Kratz is now a pretty much lock to make the team off the bench.
A stocky 6'5" and 240 pounds, Kratz may be able to provide some power at the position. As a former 29th round pick, Kratz, now 35, was never considered a top prospect, but worked his way up to the Major Leagues and has been fairly productive.
In 2012 and 2013, Kratz, with Philadelphia, hit a combined 18 home runs (nine in each year) in 157 and 218 plate appearances, respectively. He slugged a respective .504 and .386 those two seasons, by far his best.
With Houston, Kratz's main role will be to spell Castro off the bench and perhaps hit a few home runs while he does so. He fills a definite need though and finds himself in a new home as rosters continue to be crunched.
Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle and Dennis Lin of the San Diego-Union Tribune first reported the story.