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December 4, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Kratz All, Folks

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired C-R Erik Kratz and LHP Rob Rasmussen from the Phillies for RHP Brad Lincoln. [12/3]

On Monday, Alex Anthopoulos added Dioner Navarro as his new starting catcher. On Tuesday, Anthopoulos grabbed Kratz as his new backup. Anytime a right-handed hitter is paired with a switch-hitter with sizable platoon splits, we automatically assume there could be a platoon there. But that's not necessarily the case here—at least not in the normal sense.

Kratz, in limited duty, has reverse splits over the past few seasons. Navarro, on the other hand, is a better hitter against lefties. The odds are that Toronto didn't sign Navarro for him to sit on the bench five days a week. But, even if Kratz is the one doing most of the sitting, he makes sense as Toronto's new backup. The former journeyman is a solid receiver with some tricks up his sleeve; he's unlikely to hit much, but that can be said for Josh Thole, too.

Rasmussen has never pitched in the majors, yet he's frequented this column over the past three years. Selected in the second round by the Marlins in 2010, he's since been traded—either straight up or as part of a package—for Carlos Lee, John Ely, Michael Young, and now Lincoln. Rasmussen, who is listed at 5-foot-9, profiles best as a situational reliever. He has a release point (relative to his size) and a four-pitch mix, though his delivery lacks deception and he doesn't have a standout offering. Expect to see him reach the majors in 2014.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired RHP Brad Lincoln from the Blue Jays for C-R Erik Kratz and LHP Rob Rasmussen. [12/3]

Signed C-R Wil Nieves. [12/3]

Lincoln, the fourth-overall pick in the 2006 draft, joins his third organization since the start of the 2012 season. When he arrived in Toronto, he was in the midst of a breakout season. But his future is less clear a season and a half later. That's because Lincoln walked more than six batters per nine in 22 appearances for the big-league club last season. When right, Lincoln is a serviceable middle reliever who relies on his fastball-breaking ball combination. It's up to the Phillies to figure out why things went wrong. If they can, then this could be a nifty deal for Ruben Amaro Jr.

Nieves should battle Cameron Rupp for the backup catcher spot. He had a nice, if probably unrepeatable year at the plate for the Diamondbacks.

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

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