CLEVELAND (AP) — With an eye toward improving their catching in the future, the Detroit Tigers designated veteran Eric Haase for assignment and signed free agent catcher Carson Kelly on Saturday.
Haase has been with Detroit since 2000. The 30-year-old has struggled at the plate, especially against left-handers with just a .129 average.
Haase caught the second game of Friday night’s doubleheader before manager A.J. Hinch told him he was being designated.
“It’s tough to deliver that type of news to someone who is universally liked, loved, respected,” Hinch said. “He had some really cool moment for us here. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone great this year.”
Haase grew up in Detroit and always wanted to play for his childhood team, and Hinch said his connection to the team made the decision that much harder.
“He did a lot of things for us and organization,” Hinch said. “I was close to Eric. I think he’s terrific. He helped. It wasn’t working out here as well as it had in previous years.”
Kelly was released earlier this week by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Once he settles in, the 29-year-old will likely split time with Jake Rogers, who has solidified himself as Detroit’s No. 1 catcher.
Kelly struggled at the plate this season, batting .226 with one homer and six RBIs in 33 games.
“He can do a lot,” Hinch said. “We think we can improve his receiving. He’s got some power. He’s got experience. He’s a well-rounded, all-around catcher.”