Eric Haase could be key off-the-bench bat for Detroit Tigers in 2022

(Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)
(Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Tigers are heading into the 2022 season with a new backstop. Tucker Barnhart will be the team’s number one option behind the plate after moving on from Grayson Greiner and company.

However, the Detroit Tigers still have Eric Haase, who took the team by storm last season. The hometown hero has been behind the dish for the team at times, and with Barnhart’s arrival, he is stepping into the back-up and bench role.

Even though Haase can play outfield and provide benefit out in the grass, the team is a bit crowded out there, with Akil Baddoo, Robbie Grossman, and Riley Greene getting time out there. It leaves Haase to get sent to the bench, leaving a unique opportunity for himself and the Tigers organization.

It’s not the easiest for Haase to just win the job back from Barnhart, and frankly, the hope should be that Barnhart can lock things down. Haase will get time behind the plate on Barnhart’s off-days and be an option in the outfield when needed, he’s going to bring versatility to the lineup when he is playing, but can chip in elsewhere too.

Eric Haase has a great opportunity with the Detroit Tigers in 2022.

Haase is going to be a pinch-hit option for the Tigers in 2022. If he can excel in the off-the-bench role, there is hope that Haase will be able to provide a ton of value for the Tigers. No one wants to sit on the bench, but I think Haase can excel in this role, knowing that he’s going to get playing time every so often, ultimately.

If he embraces this bench role and can be the guy who comes in clutch off of the bench, the Tigers should be elated with that type of performance. After all, he’s coming off of a 2021 season where he played in 98 games, slashing .231/.286/.459 with 22 home runs and 61 RBI.

It was a breakout season for the 29-year-old catcher. Sustainability is a question for Haase, but he will not be in the lineup every day in 2022. So being able to rely on a quality bat off the bench is a nice ace up the sleeve for A.J. Hinch.

Not to say that teams will be surprised by Haase coming off of the bench, but knowing that he has the option to go to a reliable bat in situations has to be comforting going into the season. It’s better than throwing Daz Cameron or Derek Hill up there, hoping they do not strike out.

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It will be interesting to see what happens with the Tigers in 2022 and how they use Haase, but this off-the-bench role might be perfect for him.