Tag: gerald laird

Free Agent Focus: Catchers

A few weeks ago, Sandy Alderson said the Mets will seek a veteran backstop, as he is not convinced that Josh Thole can be an everyday catcher:

“We’re looking for more catching,” Alderson said. “I think it would be a little bit premature if I were to make a judgment on Thole without ever actually having seen him play.”

He wants to “see” Thole play? Can’t he just look at Thole’s numbers on Paul DePodesta’s computer? Weird.

Since then, though, manager Terry Collins announced that Thole would be the team’s #1 catcher in 2011.

Now I’m really confused; isn’t Collins supposed to be taking orders from above, and executing the plan set forth by Alderson?

Regardless of whether Thole is the starter, the Mets will need a second backstop — and presumably are in the market for a veteran. Even with Mike Nickeas and Omir Santos around, the Mets need some depth.

However, the free-agent pickings are slim; there are a total of 14 MLB catchers currently available. Let’s have a look at them.

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Tigers Acquire Gerald Laird

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Texas Rangers have traded Gerald Laird to the Detroit Tigers for AA pitcher Guillermo Moscoso.

Per Rosenthal:

“The Detroit Tigers have filled one of their prime offseason needs, acquiring catcher Gerald Laird from the Rangers for Double-A right-hander Guillermo Moscoso and a second prospect, according to a major-league source. . . . The second prospect in the deal is a 17-year-old who spent last season in the Dominican Summer League, the source said.”

Not huge news, but if true this deal removes the Tigers from bidding on free agent catcher Jason Varitek. In addition, it may put the brakes on the Rangers trading Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

For those unfamiliar with Laird, he’s a strong receiver and a so-so hitter. A younger, righthanded-hitting version of Brian Schneider. There were some tepid rumors earlier in the offseason that the Mets were inquiring about Laird but such an acquisition didn’t fit with their desire to add more punch behind the plate.

Moscoso is an intriguing prospect — a 25-year-old Venezuelan originally signed by now-Mets scouting assistant Ramon Pena. He didn’t crack the Tigers’ top 30 prospects this time last year, but was #10 this winter according to Baseball America. His age, injury history (shoulder surgery in 2005, soreness in 2008), and underwhelming stuff (90-91 MPH fastball, so-so curve and change) make him a questionable return for a starting MLB catcher. Perhaps that mystery 17-year-old is another F-Mart?

Let’s wait to see the official word on this … something seems missing.

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