The Tigers announced a series of roster moves Wednesday, placing catcher Grayson Greiner on the 10-day IL with a strained left hamstring, selecting the contract of catcher Eric Haase in his place and placing right-hander Franklin Perez on unconditional release waivers.
The Perez move comes just one day after the Tigers announced that he’s in for a lengthy absence due to surgery on his continually problematic right shoulder. It sounds callous, but teams aren’t able to place injured players on outright waivers, so the only means of removing Perez from the 40-man were to release him or call him up to place him on the Major League 60-day IL, where he’d accrue MLB service time and a big league salary. While another club could claim Perez, or he could sign elsewhere in the likely event that he clears, it’s also fairly common to see players in these circumstances quickly re-sign on minor league deals.
Perez was the top-ranked prospect the Tigers received in return for Justin Verlander back in 2017, but injuries and last year’s canceled minor league season have limited him to just 27 innings with the organization. Perez missed three months back in 2018 due to a strained lat, and he’s since battled shoulder tendinitis and a shoulder strain and has yet to even reach the Double-A level. Last year’s canceled minor league season obviously contributed to his lack of innings, but the injury troubles have tanked Perez’s prospect status. Baseball America rated him as the No. 35 overall prospect in baseball heading into the 2018 season, but he was listed just 28th in the Tigers organization even before the news of this surgery.
As for the catchers in question, Haase’s call to the roster was necessitated both by Greiner’s injury and by the fact that starting catcher Wilson Ramos is currently on the IL due to a back injury. Haase will serve as the backup to 26-year-old Jake Rogers, who was coincidentally one of the other two players the Tigers received in exchange for Verlander. (Outfield prospect Daz Cameron is the third.)
Haase, 28, has appeared in each of the past three big league seasons, spending time with the Indians in 2018-19 and with the Tigers in 2020. He’s struggled mightily, hitting just .122/.170/.184, albeit in a minimal sample of 53 plate appearances. Haase has played parts of four seasons in Triple-A, slashing .234/.306/.479 with 49 homers in 906 plate appearances.