Detroit Tigers 2012: Gerald Laird Returning to Motown

Joe UnderhillCorrespondent IIINovember 17, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 28:  Gene Lamont #22 and Gerald Laird #12 of the Detroit Tigers celebrate a solo home run by Laird in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins during their game on June 28, 2010 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tigers defeated the Twins 7-5. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Detroit News is reporting that the Tigers are close to an agreement with catcher, and former Tiger, Gerald Laird.

Laird spent last season as the backup catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, and perfectly fits the description of what the Tigers are looking for in a backup.

For starters, Laird is a right-handed hitter, which The Tigers want to balance with left-handed catcher Alex Avila. 

Also, Laird is an excellent defensive catcher who is familiar with most of the Tigers' pitchers after playing with Detroit in 2010. 

Laird also fits well in Detroit's locker room.  While playing for the Tigers, coach Jim Leyland said many times that he loved Laird's attitude.

One of the biggest benefits for the Tigers will be the cost.  Laird isn't going to command the dollars some of the other more well-known names will cost. 

Last year, St. Louis payed him $1 million.  I would expect a similar deal in Detroit, although the Tigers might give him a two-year contract. 

Laird will only play about 35 games, but his veteran presence will help the Tigers' young pitchers, and will continue to help Avila get better behind the plate.