Tag:Gerald Laird
Posted on: December 14, 2010 8:49 am

Cards to sign Laird as backup

Just to point out all the news isn't Cliff Lee news, the Cardinals agreed to terms with free-agent catcher Gerald Laird to back up Yadier Molina, Sports Illustrated 's Jon Heyman reports .

MLB.com's Matt Leach reports the deal isn't done, but that doesn't mean it won't be.

Laird, 31, hit .207/.263/.304 for the Tigers last season, but the Cardinals have always looked for a defensive catcher as their backup. Laird is considered excellent behind the plate. And with as much as Molina plays (he's started at least 130 games each of the last two seasons), offense can be secondary for the backup.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 23, 2010 10:20 am
Edited on: November 23, 2010 10:44 am

Report: Martinez to Tigers

Victor Martinez The first big free-agent signing of the offseason may be coming soon, as ESPNdeportes' Ignacio Serrano reports Victor Martinez is close to a four-year, $50 million deal with the Tigers.

Martinez will return to the American League Central, where he played for the Indians from 2002 to 2009, when he was traded to the Red Sox.

Martinez hit .302/.351/.493 with 20 home runs for the Red Sox last season and is a career .300/.369/.469 hitter.

The Tigers have money to spare, with several big contracts coming off the books for 2011. The team announced earlier in the day that they would not be offering arbitration to their five free agents, Magglio Ordonez, Johnny Damon, Jeremy Bonderman, Bobby Seay and Gerald Laird.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 3, 2010 1:16 pm

Tigers making big decisions on 2011

Johnny Damon I'm sure Red Sox fans will be happy to hear Johnny Damon will be available this offseason.

Damon turned down a trade to the Red Sox in August because he liked Detroit so much and wanted to stay there. Apparently the Tigers think that's mighty nice, but he can move on along now.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski talked to reporters (via Steve Kornacki of MLive.com ) before Sunday's season-finale in Baltimore and said the team wouldn't bring back Damon, catcher Gerald Laird or starter Jeremy Bonderman, although Bonderman could be invited to spring training if he doesn't find another home.

The team will also decline their $15 million option on outfielder Magglio Ordonez, Dombrowski said, but would like to bring him back at a more team-friendly price.

As for those staying, the team has offered third baseman Brandon Inge a multi-year contract and may pick up shortstop Jhonny Peralta's $7.25 million option.

Dombrowski said the team will be looking to add a middle of the order "RBI threat" with the $70.1 million coming off the team's books.

Also, manager Jim Leyland told reporters (via the Detroit Free Press ' John Lowe ) that left-hander Phil Coke will be moved from the bullpen to the rotation.

"We need a left-hander in the rotation," Leyland said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 26, 2010 3:04 pm

Laird, Bonderman preparing to leave Tigers

Jeremy Bonderman The Detroit Tigers have a bevy of free agents such as Brandon Inge, Gerald Laird, Johnny Damon and Jeremy Bonderman, and it's unlikely the Tigers bring any back.

With a significant amount of money freed up, the Tigers need to retool to stay competitive in the AL Central, and all of these potential free agents have, to varying degrees, warts in their game.

Take Gerald Laird, for example. Acquired prior to the 2009 season after posting a .276/.329/.398 line in381 plate appearances from the Rangers, Laid has been a black hole for Detroit and has lost his starting job to Alex Avila. Laird has 290 PA on the season with a .211/.268/.307 line not even befitting a backup catcher. It's been pretty clear for a while that Detroit isn't going to bring the righty back.

However, the 30-year-old isn't upset and is looking to part amicably, as the Detroit News reports .

"I love it here, I've had a great time here, but honestly, I can't do the same thing this year and platoon," Laird said. "I'm only 30 years old, I've got some good years left, and I want to play every day and get 350, 400, 500 at-bats."

Laird cited John Buck as someone he would love to emulate. Buck struggled to put his career together in Kansas City before signing a deal to join Toronto where he's had a breakout season and should net a nice deal as a free agent. Interestingly enough, Laird's role model could end up replacing him in Detroit. As the News reports, the Tigers may go after Buck as they would like to pair Avila with another catcher in a platoon role, or even keep Avila as the backup.

Laird's batterymate, Jeremy Bonderman, is in much a similar situation as Laird, conceding he's probably finishing up a Tigers career that began at age 20.

"In all honesty, probably not," Bonderman told Tom Gage of the News when asked if he would return to Detroit.

Bonderman hasn't been the same pitcher since undergoing arterial surgery in 2008. His fastball ranked an average 92 mph in 2007 (93.2 the year before) but that has sunk to 89.9 mph in 2010. However, the 28-year-old has learned to become a pitcher, as the News notes. That, among other things, has endeared him to Detroit's front office but it may not be enough in a season of transition.

"I love it here, and I've got a lot of respect for the fans," said Bonderman, who has a 8-9 record for Motown along with a 5.18 ERA in 166 2/3 innings. With the drop in velocity and the tender age of 28, it may make sense for Bonderman to sign a one- or two-year (with the second year including escalators) with a National League team. It would line him up to produce better and give him another chance at a significant long-term deal in a year or two.

"Whatever works out for the business, I'm just gonna enjoy these last couple of starts. And then I'll just go home and see what the deck deals me," the righty added.

"Everyone has different chapters in their lives. This might be one for me."

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 16, 2010 9:44 am
Edited on: August 16, 2010 12:59 pm

Leyland happy with Tigers' fight

Armando Galarraga Armando Galarraga was the guy that was able to keep his cool as history was ripped away from him in one of baseball's all-time worst calls. On Sunday, he wasn't quite so reserved, getting into a dugout scrap with both of the team's catchers in the second inning.

Manager Jim Leyland had no concerns about his starter getting into it with Alex Avila and Gerald Laird.

"I kind of liked it," Leyland told the Detroit News . "When you're a pitcher and a catcher, every now and then you get your signals crossed."

The three players pretty much said the same thing, despite Laird nearly throwing a punch before teammates separated him and Galarraga. The spat started with Galarraga and Avila arguing and then Laird jumping into the fray.

"Just a misunderstanding," Galarraga said.

Said Avila. "We're both competing and things got a little heated. There were a few things in there, and not soley that [there were disagreements on pitches called]. It was a big deal at the moment, but it just got a little out of hand for a moment. It was just a heated conversation. It was probably a little out of character for both of us."

Laird said he was just standing up for the younger Avila.

"Alex being young, I didn't think it was right [for Galarraga] to jump on him," Laird said. "Galarraga was just int he heat of the moment and just kind of got carried away."

He also added: "We've got a bunch of athletes here who are competing. This might be the spark to get us going."

Galarraga was able to keep his cool on the mound until the fifth inning, giving up three runs and the Tigers' lead. But the Tigers were able to come back against the White Sox's bullpen and beat Chicago 13-8.

The Tigers are 10 1/2 games behind the Twins in the American League Central and 14 games out of the wild card, so any chances of this being the "spark" that leads to the playoffs are remote.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com