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UPDATE: Tigers sign Gerald Laird to one-year deal

Nov 17, 2011, 12:30 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals Getty Images

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of reports that the Tigers and Laird have agreed to a one-year deal, pending a physical.

12:30 PM: It’s backup catcher day here on Hardball Talk. Thanks for joining us.

Jon Paul Morosi of hears that the Tigers are “on the verge” of bringing back veteran backstop Gerald Laird.¬†They were considering Kelly Shoppach in recent days, but Laird has emerged as their top choice.

Laird, who turned 32 on Sunday, batted .232/.302/.358 with one home run, 12 RBI and a .660 OPS over 108 plate appearances this season serving as Yadier Molina‘s backup catcher in St. Louis. He also gunned down 20 percent (4-for-20) of attempted basestealers.

Laird played with the Tigers in 2009 and 2010 before signing with the Cardinals last offseason. Alex Avila led American League catchers with 130 starts this season and Victor Martinez is locked in as the primary designated hitter and third catcher moving forward, so the Tigers need a more reliable alternative than Omir Santos.

  1. philliesblow - Nov 17, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Oh joy, time for Rod Allen to brush off the “I see ya G-Money!” cheers. Don’t know that I would use “gunned-down” for a 20% caught stealing ratio. Were Cards pitchers that bad at holding on runners?

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 17, 2011 at 5:13 PM

      That’s a solid ratio for a catcher. I can’t find what the best % was in 2011 though, darn it. Can someone fetch that? Minimum 50 games started or something.

  2. cintiphil - Nov 17, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    Do the redbirds have a backup? If so, I don’t know him. Of course Molina seems to catch every pitch in every game.

    • veistran - Nov 17, 2011 at 3:19 PM

      They have Tony Cruz and Bryan Anderson.

    • umrguy42 - Nov 17, 2011 at 3:30 PM

      We HAD a pretty decent one the other year, then somebody kicked him in the head and he had to retire.

      • thefalcon123 - Nov 17, 2011 at 3:55 PM

        For a second I thought you were talking about Jason LaRue, but that can’t be right, cause who in their right mind would describe him and his 67 OPS+ in 3 seasons with the Cardinals as “decent”.

      • cintiphil - Nov 17, 2011 at 4:12 PM

        Yes, I hear you, but that was about the only dumb think Cueto did. We all liked your back up catcher while he was in Cinti.

      • cintiphil - Nov 17, 2011 at 4:15 PM

        Falcon, he was not the best at bat, but did a very good job at giving a rest to Molina. LaRue was an excellent defensive guy with a weak bat, who could surprise you at times with his power.

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