Saturday, December 06, 2008

Tigers pursuing Gerald Laird and Adam Everett

John Morosi is reporting that the Tigers are pursuing Rangers catcher Gerald Laird. In return, the Rangers might be interested in pitching prospects. I am not as big of a Laird fan as some others so I hope he wouldn't cost too much. Morosi mentions Guillermo Moscoso, Brandon Hamilton, Jonathan Kibler and Mauricio Robles as possibilities.

Laird batted .276/.329/.396 in 95 games for the Rangers in 2008 and has a lifetime line of .255/.306/.383. A .689 OPS playing in the best hitting park in the American League is not very impressive. The splits suggest that playing in Texas might not be helping him though. His lifetime OPS at home is .676 versus .703 on the road. He also does a lot better in the first half of the season (.737 lifetime) than the second half (.638) which suggests that he may tire in the Texas heat. Of course, it could also mean that he doesn't have the durability to be a starting catcher.

Defensely, Laird has a strong arm and has posted the following caught stealing percentages over the past three years: 43.2, 39.8, 27.4. He also got good scores from Rangers fans in the fan scouting report.

Another player that the Tigers are reportedly pursuing is free agent shortstop Adam Everett. While the Jack Wilson deal is not dead yet, the Tigers are scheduled to talk with Everett at next week's winter meetings. Everett is a horrible hitter and there is no way I can spin it to make him look even remotely good. He batted .213/.278/.323 in 48 games in 2008 and has a lifetime line of .246/.298/.355.

The 31 year old Everett was an outstanding defensive shortstop for the Astros from 2003-2007. In fact, he was the best in the game. His fielding Fielding Bible +/- numbers were the best in MLB from 2003-2006:

2003 +21 plays better than the average shortstop
2004 +22
2005 +33
2006 +41

He was on his way to another +/- title in 2007 when he was at +18 after 66 games but missed the rest of the season with a broken fibula. He struggled defensively in 2008 thanks to a strained shoulder. If his leg and shoulder are fully healed and he returns to his old self defensively, the Tigers could afford to carry his weak bat. There is no guarantee that he'll ever regain his old range again though. On the plus, side, he would come cheap in terms of money and players (none). That might allow them to spend more money on pitching.

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