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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Braves sign catcher Gerald Laird to a two-year deal

Greg Maddux will still insist on Eddie Perez though.

The 33-year-old Laird hit .282/.337/.374 in 191 plate appearances with the Tigers last season. After losing backup catcher David Ross to the Red Sox, the Braves needed to find a steady backup to Brian McCann. McCann had offseason shoulder surgery, and could miss the beginning of next season. If that were to happen, Laird would likely play a larger role until McCann is fully recovered.

The 10-year veteran has played for the Rangers, Tigers and Cardinals in his career. Details about his contract with the Braves are not known at this time.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, free agents, gerald laird

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: November 15, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4303389)
I think he's a fine backup, but definitely not the guy you want starting while McCann is out.
   2. Rickey! will gladly sacrifice your janitor Posted: November 15, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4303406)
The other option is Christian Bethancourt, or maybe Evan Gattis. Laird will play plenty until McCann returns.

On the upside, the Braves just won 94 games with Brian McCann hitting 230/300/399 in 121 games, so it's not like Laird's 2012 would have been significantly worse.
   3. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: November 15, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4303436)
That's a fairly sizable step down from Ross to Laird. With Chipper and Bourn gone and McCann broken, I can't wait to see what FA boondoggle Wren steps into to try and prop up the offense.

   4. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: November 15, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4303440)

GOOD LUCK G-MONEY

He's at least 8-10 LARP (LOLs Above Replacement Player)
   5. KJOK Posted: November 15, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4303446)
On the upside, the Braves just won 94 games with Brian McCann hitting 230/300/399 in 121 games, so it's not like Laird's 2012 would have been significantly worse.


But what's relevant is Laird's 2013 is likely to be worse, especially if he plays everyday against RH pitching.


   6. TomH Posted: November 15, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4303451)
what did I miss? When is McCann due to play next? My Scoresheet team needs to know!
   7. Rickey! will gladly sacrifice your janitor Posted: November 15, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4303457)
what did I miss? When is McCann due to play next? My Scoresheet team needs to know!


McCann had a torn labrum, and had surgery to repair this off-season. Optimistic timeline for his return is a few weeks into spring training. Pessimistic timeline is missing two months of 2013.
   8. Rickey! will gladly sacrifice your janitor Posted: November 15, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4303459)
But what's relevant is Laird's 2013 is likely to be worse, especially if he plays everyday against RH pitching.


Laird won't play every day. He will be the starter until McCann returns.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: November 15, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4303642)
I think he's a fine backup, but definitely not the guy you want starting while McCann is out.

But what are the options? A better 1-month sub for McCann is, pretty much by definition, a better backup than Laird. If the Braves didn't think Laird was the best C available to them, they wouldn't have signed him to a 2-year contract. Now maybe the Braves do have a better option available than Laird or maybe they should have matched/beaten Boston's offer to Ross but that's a different argument.

Not meaning to pick on you but we see this from time to time here: "X is a fine backup but you wouldn't want him starting while Y is out." Well, either X is a fine backup or not. And if X is a fine backup then anybody you'd rather have starting while Y is out is somebody who's good enough to be starting elsewhere and therefore not available or costly and not necessarily happy to be a backup longterm. I don't understand this concept of "this guy is a fine backup but he's not the guy you want out there for a month when your starter gets hurt."

Obviously nobody _wants_ Laird as a staring C for 1-2 months but what are the options? Possibly the Ms would part with Jaso but then he was their best hitter last year. Buck and Arencibia are both sitting in Toronto but I doubt either is going to be too happy as a backup. Torrealba is available but he had a lousy season. Paulino maybe but also coming off a lousy season and it's hard to argue he's an upgrade on Laird. The Nats have Suzuki, Ramos and Flores but I doubt they want to help the Braves and it's not clear Flores is any better than Laird.
   10. SteveM. Posted: November 15, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4303650)
But what are the options?


Geo Soto is out there.
   11. Greg K Posted: November 15, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4303676)
Geo Soto is out there.

But would Soto want to sign if you said "hey, you'll be starting for maybe a month, and then be a backup. Unless McCann is healthy in the spring, in which case you'll catch 40 games all year."

Obviously Soto had a pretty crappy year, but he was a decent enough player as recently at 2011...I'd suspect he'd hold out for a more promising offer.
   12. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: November 15, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4303682)
Dioner Navarro was out there - just signed for 1.75M.

As for Soto, he's still a Ranger - likely will be available in a month or so (non-tender).
   13. valuearbitrageur Posted: November 15, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4303694)
GATTIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   14. Rickey! will gladly sacrifice your janitor Posted: November 15, 2012 at 07:23 PM (#4303799)
Even if we accept that there were players out there who are possibly, marginally, better than Laird, it is in the best interest of the franchise to get a guy locked in and continue on with their pursuit of BJ Upton, rather than dally about on the marginal possibility that Geo Soto might want to be a backup for the next month. If the Braves are sweating the deltas between Laird and Dioner Navarro next September, they've already lost.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: November 15, 2012 at 08:03 PM (#4303831)
Over the last 3 years, Navarro has 417 PA and a 67 OPS+. Laird has 598 PA and a 71 OPS+. However bWAR doesn't like Laird's defense while Navarro is still rated average or better so Navarro wins the WAR battle by 0 to -1.1

Hard to id back-up Cs but the available ones I could find with at least 1 WAR total over the last 3 seasons are Shoppach (I think he's available), Torrealba, possibly Cervelli, possibly Chris Stewart (bWAR loves his defense) and possibly somebody named Erik Kratz. Others are all young enough and cheap enough I doubt their teams are in any hurry to give them up. Really they should have just re-signed Ross if this was a big deal to them.
   16. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: November 15, 2012 at 08:32 PM (#4303847)
BTW, mentioning Navarro was itself as a 'by the way' - I was surprised he got that much.

They probably should have re-signed Ross - not just because he's good, but he has off-field value as well (intangibles, local guy who wanted to play close to home, fan favorite).
   17. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: November 15, 2012 at 08:39 PM (#4303852)
They probably should have re-signed Ross - not just because he's good, but he has off-field value as well (intangibles, local guy who wanted to play close to home, fan favorite).

Clearly. That fact that they didn't or couldn't is an interesting puzzle. They need him, they love him, but they still let him walk away because...maybe they have a shot at Upton? Seems like there is more to the story.
   18. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: November 15, 2012 at 09:02 PM (#4303884)
What happened to Ramon Castro last year? How come he didn't play.

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