The Detroit Tigers have agreed to a one-year deal with catcher Gerald Laird, according to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The deal is reportedly pending a physical.
Laird, 31, hit .232/.302/.358 in 37 games for the St. Louis Cardinals this season. The backup catcher hasn’t held an everyday starting position since 2009 when he hit .225/.306/.320 in 135 games for the Tigers.
Laird will likely serve as the backup to emerging star Alex Avila. The 24-year-old hit .295/.389/.506 with 19 home runs for the Tigers in 141 games this season. During 2011, starting designated hitter Victor Martinez played catcher when Avila would have his days off. The Tigers have implied that they would like to move Martinez into a full-time DH role. In his career, Laird has thrown out 37% of runners who have attempted to steal against him. He has also played first base, third base, and the outfield at the major league level.