Should the Milwaukee Brewers try to trade catcher Eric Haase?

And could they do so even if they wanted to?
Mar 14, 2024; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Milwaukee Brewers catcher Eric Haase (13) bats against the
Mar 14, 2024; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Milwaukee Brewers catcher Eric Haase (13) bats against the / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Brewers manager Pat Murphy has plenty of tough decisions to make this spring as he zeroes in on his 2024 Opening Day roster. One of them comes at a position that you might not expect.

In recent years, the Brewers have had a relatively easy decision to make at the catcher's position. They'd have their starter (William Contreras, Manny Pina, Yasmani Grandal, for example) and a relatively clear cut backup. As the team would traditionally carry two catchers, that pretty much settled that.

This year, Contreras once again goes into the season as the starter. Behind him will be Gary Sanchez, who was signed to a contract that could earn him up to $7MM this season. Most years that would be good enough.

But then there's Eric Haase.

Haase was signed to a one-year deal to back up Contreras prior to Sanchez being added to the fold. And he is giving the Brewers a lot to think about when it comes to their Opening Day roster construction with a blazing hot spring where he is hitting .414 with a 1.366 OPS and four homers in 14 games.

Should the Brewers pull the rare move of carrying three catchers into the regular season, there's is some positional flexibility that could make things work. However, there's also another solution to the "problem" that the team could consider.

Should the Brewers consider trying to trade catcher Eric Haase?

Finding a catcher who can actually contribute a decent amount at the plate is a struggle that many teams have. Haase has already shown in his MLB history that he can do that for a team.

From 2021 to 2022, Haase hit .242 with a .746 OPS, 29 doubles, 36 homers, and 105 RBIs over 208 games, decent production for that position. Though he had a very down year in 2023, this spring's performance could be enough to encourage teams that he is back on track.

The numbers would also work out very favorably for any team acquiring him. Haase is only set to make $1MM this season with the contract that he signed with the Brewers. A team would also have two additional years of control with Haase as he still has two more arbitration years to reach for his career.

The question of leverage often comes up in these situations, a.k.a. why not just wait for the Brewers to designate him for assignment right before the season starts and then try to scoop up Haase at that point.

For one, you would have to beat out other teams for the waiver claim. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, the Brewers can still keep Haase if they didn't find a trade partner. Haase does have the ability to play left field, which creates options to work him into the mix. They still have yet to solve the DH problem they've had since the position became permanent and carrying Haase would allow Contreras or Sanchez to DH without worrying about what would happen if the starting catcher got hurt.

With all this, it's also worth remembering that spring performances only mean so much. One needs to only look back to last year and Luke Voit, who torched pitchers in the spring, earned himself a roster spot....and then was much worse in the regular season to the point that he was ultimately DFA'd. That could be incentive for the Brewers to try and find a trade partner while Haase's stock is high.

Even though the Brewers can get by with Haase on the roster, a trade might still be in their best interest if they can make one happen. Unfortunately, it's not just as easy as wanting one to happen and just making it so, but if GM Matt Arnold can find a willing partner, he should consider pulling the trigger.