May 26, 2024

Detroit native, former Tigers catcher signs with Brewers

DETROIT — Eric Haase, a Detroit native and former Tigers catcher, has secured a major league contract with a new team. The Milwaukee Brewers announced on Wednesday that Haase has signed a one-year deal, though the terms were not disclosed.

Turning 31 earlier this week, Haase had been a standout hitter for the Tigers in 2021 and 2022 but experienced a significant decline in performance this year. After the Tigers placed him on waivers in August, he was claimed by the Cleveland Guardians. Following a brief stint with the Guardians, he accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus and opted for free agency at the end of the season.

Eric Haase accepts assignment to Triple-A Columbus

Despite facing challenges in 2023, Haase, known for his respected game-calling and athleticism beyond the typical catcher’s abilities, seemed destined for a minor-league deal this offseason. However, he has now chosen to remain in the Midwest and will serve as the backup to Brewers starter William Contreras.

In November, the Tigers exercised a $3.5 million contract option for veteran catcher Carson Kelly, who replaced Haase in August. Haase, originally drafted by Cleveland in 2011, had a circuitous journey through the Indians’ minor-league system before making his MLB debut in 2018.

After a limited role with the Indians in 2018 and 2019, he was waived before the 2020 season. The Tigers acquired him for cash, and he spent most of the shortened 2020 season in Toledo. Haase had his breakthrough in 2021, contributing significantly to the Tigers’ resurgence with 22 home runs and catching a no-hitter.

In 2022, he maintained solid offensive numbers with a team-high .748 OPS (112 OPS+) in 110 games, adding outfield duties to his repertoire. Although 2023 marked his best defensive season, highlighted by another no-hitter in July, his offensive production declined sharply. Haase was hitting just .201 with four home runs and a .530 OPS (46 OPS+) in 282 plate appearances when designated for assignment.

Despite his offensive struggles, the Tigers boasted a 29-23 record this year when Haase was behind the plate, with pitchers posting a 3.75 ERA in 468 innings during his appearances.

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