Don't ask why, because I really don't have an answer for you:
Indians have signed INF Michael Martinez and C Erik Kratz to Minor League contracts with Spring Training invites.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) December 1, 2016
The Cleveland Indians are getting their stove hot today as they have signed minor league contracts with infielder(?) Michael Martinez and catcher Erik Kratz. If you're looking for world breaking, game changing news, I'm sorry to report that this is not the article for you. But, since the news is kind of slow today on the Cleveland side of things, here's a brief breakdown on these two players.
Erik Kratz, 36, is a right-handed catcher who made his first MLB appearance in 2010 at the age of 30. First drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2002 in the 29th round, Kratz has played in the big leagues for Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Toronto, Kansas City, and Houston. His most recent stint at the MLB level was this previous season where he split his time between the Astros and the Pirates. In 33 total games in 2016, Kratz has a slash line of .094/.105/.153, good for a wRC+ of -40. Yes, that's a negative sign before the 40. To put that into perspective, Yan Gomes, who had a historically bad 2016, had a slash line of .167/.201/.327 and a wRC+ of 33. So...yeah, I don't know.
Equally puzzling is the move to bring back our good friend Michael Martinez. Michael Martinez is most known to Tribe fans for making the final out of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. His baseball-reference page says that he hit a home run last year, but I don't believe it. His slash line over 59 games last year was .242/.265/.316, good for a wRC+ of 51. If you think I'm being too harsh on Michael, even Jordan Bastian doesn't understand this move:
Among 4,173 non-pitchers with 500+ career AB, Michael Martinez ranks 4,170th with a 37 OPS+. He plays a lot of positions, though.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) December 1, 2016
"Plays" is a very loose term for what Michael Martinez does in the field, Jordan.
At the end of the day, these are two minor league moves that will most likely have little to no impact on the roster come opening day next season. It's likely that the front office is applying the "grab everyone, throw them at a wall, and see who sticks" method of player acquisition this offseason, which shouldn't really surprise anyone. That being said, I was really hoping that I wasn't going to have to write about Michael Martinez again after 2016. Oh well. Best of luck to Michael and Erik in spring training. Maybe one of them will get another critical at-bat in a playoff series.