Ex-Tiger Laird gets two-year contract from Braves (updated)

These were the words from Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski a few weeks ago when asked whether they’d make a push to keep free agent Gerald Laird:

“We basically told Gerald this situation: I know he’s looking for a little more playing time, he’s looking for a little more finances. That’s not going to come from us.”

As it turned out, it came from the Braves, who just lost their backup catcher and badly needed one with Brian McCann having just undergone shoulder surgery. Atlanta has agreed to terms with Laird on a two-year contract, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports.

Financial terms haven’t been disclosed, but Atlanta paid David Ross north of $1.6 million in each of the last three seasons before he left for Boston earlier this month. Laird made $1 million with the Tigers this past season.

On a team that just spent big for right fielder Torii Hunter and will have to spend much bigger to try to keep Anibal Sanchez, backup catcher was never going to be a big-ticket item. The only backup catcher in recent years to get a multi-year deal from the Tigers was Vance Wilson, and it was for far less. Subsequent Tommy John surgeries never allowed Wilson to play another game in the big leagues after signing that contract.

As for playing time, McCann’s rehab leaves Laird looking at a potentially heavy workload early in the season, and possibly more if the rehab hits a setback. For what it’s worth, Ross received more playing time than Laird last year through McCann’s injuries, and had a pretty steady workload of 50-60 games and 145-170 plate appearances in the three seasons before that.

Laird played in 63 games with 191 plate appearances this past season, eventually settling in for a good share of starts against left-handed pitchers as the Tigers tried to watch the wear and tear on Alex Avila’s knees. Those are starts and at-bats the Tigers are going to have to fill. Most likely, they’ll make every effort to fill it from within.

“We do feel comfortable with Bryan Holaday as a guy that can step in and be a backup catcher,” Dombrowski said a few weeks ago.

[UPDATE: Dombrowski reiterated that stance in an email to MLB.com on Thursday as MLB's owners meetings were wrapping up in Chicago. However, he also left open the possibility of signing another backup.

"At this time, he would be our backup," Dombrowski wrote of Holaday, "and we would be happy with him performing that role for us. However, we will also continue to keep our options open."]

The Tigers drafted Holaday out of TCU three years ago with the idea he could grow into a useful catcher in the big leagues, certainly defensively. He got his first big league call in June with Avila and Laird both ailing, then returned to Detroit later as a September call-up. In between, he got regular work at Triple-A Toledo, batting .240 on the year as a Mud Hen with two home runs and 25 RBIs.

Holaday threw out 25 of 73 would-be baserunners in Toledo, maintaining the 34-percent rate he posted throwing out runners last year at Double-A Erie. He has earned glowing reviews for his defense and his work with pitchers.

14 Comments

Well your FA options would then be: Russel Martin, Kelly Shoppach, Yorvit Torreabla, Ronny Paulino, Henry Blanco, Miguel Olivo, Chris Snyder, Matt Treanor, Rod Barajas.
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Many of these guys are still going to want 2M+ for a 1 year or multiple years. And when you look at the stats of the guys who would like to come here (e.g. Treanor) it makes you wonder if Holaday couldn’t do much worse.
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Wanna gamble on whether Alex Avilia plays a whole season (read: 135+ starts) without some injury being the cause of weak offensive numbers and baserunning?

G-Money best of luck with the Braves. Hope to see you guys in late October!!

Can Alex Avila and Bryan Holaday hold down the catching position for the Detroit Tigers?? Absolutely!!! Mind you James McCann and some other prospects might make Bryan work hard to get the job.

We want both our catchers to do the best they can. For Alex that means he needs to get 70-85 ABs per month and start 130 games if healthy all season. He will have to face some lefties to do this each month. However, Bryan, who hits lefties well, should get more of the ABs and starts against lefties while ideally hitting .250 or better against them. If he is hitting solid against lefties, then he will get pinchhitting opportunites late in games when teams send lefty relievers in to face Alex.

When Alex gets 70 ABs or more per month, he hits .297. When he gets less than 70 ABs, the average drops to .230.

McGwire and Bonds out of the HOF but Braun gets a free pass. Second for MVP. Incredible

disgusting

What do people think about a nice bullpen piece on the FA market like: R. Madson, J. Soria or J. Peralta? Don’t want to repeat the 2011 ALCS where we didn’t have enough bullpen pieces…..

Madson wont be ready to start the season. He would be cheap because he needs to build his value. And is a Boras´ client.
Same for Soria ( minus Boras)

Let’s talk about it after they announce MVP?

So the show is about Trout. Where is the interview to Britten?

They got it right!

Miguel is the MVP.

And this is how the path to Cooperstown begins

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