The Cleveland Guardians have made a move at the catcher position, claiming Eric Haase off waivers from Detroit while designating Zack Collins for assignment, according to reports. Haase will report to the Major League Club.
Haase, a Michigan native, will be returning to his original ballclub in Cleveland, going from true homecoming to now a homecoming of sorts. The now 30-year-old backstop was drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft.
There was not an opportunity for Haase during his first time in Cleveland with Yan Gomes, Roberto Perez, and Kevin Plawecki handling the bulk of the catching duties during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Being traded to his hometown Tigers before the 2020 season did not lead to immediate playing time, as Austin Romine and Grayson Greiner were the primary backstops in Detroit.
Things would change for the better in 2021, with Haase seizing an opportunity. Haase would hit 22 home runs and 12 doubles with 66 RBI in 98 games. Most of Haase's time was spent behind the plate that season, but he did see playing time in the outfield for the first time in his career. Haase would continue to make appearances in the outfield, with most of his playing time coming at the catcher position.
The 2023 season saw a notable drop in production, seeing his slash line crash to .201/.246/.284 with 78 strikeouts in 86 games. This was Haase's lowest slash line in a season with more than 10 games played. This would be a bit more palatable if Haase was hitting for power, but his eight doubles and four homes do little to negate the other issues at the plate.
It is worth taking a chance on Haase to see if he can recapture any of the power he was able to show in previous seasons. The fact of the matter is that this is a lost season for the Guardians. Taking the time to see what, if anything, Haase has left in the tank for a team that has lacked power for far too long is better than continuing to grant playing time to options who possess zero pop in their bat.