Having a veteran presence at big league camp is an integral part of a team's preseason prosperity.
The Cleveland Indians signed two of these particular pieces on Thursday afternoon in the form of 34-year-old utility man Michael Martinez and 36-year-old backstop Erik Kratz. Aside from their abundance of Minor League experience, the pair of non-roster invitees figures to battle their way up their respective depth charts in pursuit of another opportunity at the big league level.
Martinez is no stranger to the Indians organization in that he has three years under his belt between Triple-A Columbus and the Tribe. His 2016 campaign yielded a .242 (23-for-95) batting average with 4 doubles, 1 home run, 4 runs batted in and 15 runs scored in 59 games.
Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Martinez displayed defensive flexibility and made appearances at second base (21 games, 7 starts), center field (11 games, 3 starts), left field (9 games, 1 start), right field (9 games, 5 starts), shortstop (5 games, 4 starts) and third base (2 games, 1 start).
Kratz will be joining the Indians after logging MLB service time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros.
A Pennsylvania native, Kratz has hovered around the Mendoza Line throughout his Major League tenure with a .200 (120-for-599) batting average including 25 doubles, 24 home runs, 73 runs batted in and 55 runs scored in 224 games over the course of six seasons.
Pitchers and catchers will officially report on February 14th while full team workouts commence on February 18th from Goodyear, AZ.
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.