Ugh…let’s get this over with.
Everyone and their great great great great grandmother who has needed to clip her toenails for the last five years knew that heading into this off season, Dave Dombrowski needed a back up catcher to avoid the total deterioration of Alex Avila like we all experienced in the playoffs. There were numerous possible options available, but Dombrowski decided to go the cheap route, returning Gerald Laird to the town that loves him (sarcastic), signing him to a one year deal worth one mill. Who would have known how thankful we would be to have gone the cheap route? Anyway, Ole reliable…no that’s not right. Ole dependable…no that isn’t it either. Ole you-know-what-your’e-going-to-get is back, and let the celebration begin!
Anyone pick up the cake yet?
REGRESSION: Games Played – Obviously he will play less games than the 89 games he played the last time he was in Detroit, but that is not what I am talking about. For the Cardinals last year, Laird appeared in 37 games. He had 95 at bats with a hitting line of .232/.302/.358 with 1 HR and 12 RBI. While I think it is quite obvious Jim Leyland does not want AA to catch 140 games again, he will not go from one extreme to the other.
BA vs LHP – Believe it or not, Laird actually hit .286 against lefties last year. Mind blowing, right? Well…it was only in 14 at bats. In comparison, Laird hit .183 with the Tigers in 2010 against southpaws in 109 ABs. His career average against lefties is .263. While he certainly will not hit .286 vs LHP this year, I do believe the majority of his at bats will come against LHP, but with him being on the down side of his career, his career averages will be tough to match as well.
Caught Stealing % – In his two years with Detroit, Laird threw out 72 out of 187 runners, good for a CS% of 38. This number is actually quite good. May we remember that Laird is not back with Detroit for his lumber. He knows how to catch, can block the ball and throw it well. Above all that, he can actually call a very good game and has expirence with the majority of our starting rotation. Having said all that, during his limited time behind the plate this year, he will not throw out 38% of attempted runners. Sorry.
PROGRESSION: Runs Scored – Last season, Laird was only able to cross home plate 11 times in the 37 games he played. Whether one projects him to hit 8th when he plays to set up the 2 leadoff hitters approach or 9th to hide him as much as possible, this offense should carry him to score more than 11 runs. This will not be a large projection, but I’ll take what I can get here. Work with me a little, huh?
On-Base % – In his last season with the Tigers, Laird’s OBP was .263. That is entering a face only a mother could love type territory. I am not entirely sure how much worse a ball player can get than that, so Gerald is making this an easy one for me. Oh G-Money, you are so kind.
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Slugging Percentage – I actually do not know which is worse – the .263 OBP he posted with DET in 2010 or the horrendous .306 SLG he maintained the same year. Like his OBP, I’m not sure how much lower the floor can go, so he can only go up from that, right?Right?
BOLD STATEMENT: Laird will have 5 hits or less in a month 3 seperate times this year
PREDICTION: 35 GP .228/.297/.350 .647 OPS 2 HR 14 RBI 8 2B 11 BB 20 SO 33 CS%
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