Montgomery County native Erik Kratz is a Philadelphia Phillie no longer. Kratz has been traded away to the Toronto Blue Jays along with reliever Rob Rasmussen. In return, the Phillies receive pitcher Brad Lincoln, who is a former starting pitcher that recently converted to a reliever.
Lincoln was the fourth overall pick of the 2006 draft, taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lincoln made his major league debut in the 2010 season, but never really lived up to the anticipation. After a number of minor league stints in the Pirates' organization, Lincoln was dealt at the trade deadline to the Blue Jays. He appeared in 24 games for the Blue Jays in 2012, and started 2013 at the Triple-A level. He did make 22 big-league appearances in 2013, compiling a 1-2 record, a 3.98 ERA, and 25 strikeouts over 31 and 2/3 innings.
Kratz, who was the starting catcher for part of the 2013 season while Carlos Ruiz was out, made 218 plate appearances in 68 games, posting a .213 average to go with 9 home runs and 26 RBI. Kratz was a streaky player, but turned into somewhat of a fan-favorite after picking up clutch hits at various points throughout the season. He was also injured for much of June and July.
The Phillies also added Wil Nieves in a free-agent signing. Nieves, who is mainly a bench player, appeared in 71 games last year for the Arizona Diamondbacks, hitting .297. Nieves is a 36-year old, and has been in the league for 10 seasons. He's a career .242 hitter with just 8 career home runs and 103 RBI. He has never appeared in more than 72 games in a season. The numbers on the Nieves deal have not yet been released.
As for Lincoln, the Phillies presumably picked him up for some bullpen help. However, Lincoln came into the league as a starting pitcher with the Pirates. Lincoln would likely fill a middle reliever spot, but if there are injuries in the starting rotation in 2014 as there were in 2013, it wouldn't be surprising to see Lincoln make a few starts at the bottom of the rotation.
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