UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Tigers and Laird have agreed to a one-year deal, pending a physical.
12:30 PM: It’s backup catcher day here on Hardball Talk. Thanks for joining us.
Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com hears that the Tigers are “on the verge” of bringing back veteran backstop Gerald Laird. They were considering Kelly Shoppach in recent days, but Laird has emerged as their top choice.
Laird, who turned 32 on Sunday, batted .232/.302/.358 with one home run, 12 RBI and a .660 OPS over 108 plate appearances this season serving as Yadier Molina’s backup catcher in St. Louis. He also gunned down 20 percent (4-for-20) of attempted basestealers.
Laird played with the Tigers in 2009 and 2010 before signing with the Cardinals last offseason. Alex Avila led American League catchers with 130 starts this season and Victor Martinez is locked in as the primary designated hitter and third catcher moving forward, so the Tigers need a more reliable alternative than Omir Santos.
Major League Baseball put Cubs shortstop Addison Russell on administrative leave pursuant to its domestic violence policy the other day. The thought at the time was that the move was made solely because Russell’s ex-wife, Melisa Reidy, had written a blog post reiterating past claims of domestic violence. As Ken Rosenthal reports, however, that’s not all they had:
The post alone would not have been enough for baseball to force Russell off the field under its joint domestic violence policy with the players’ union. The league had additional credible information, according to sources familiar with its investigation.
The league’s investigation includes interviews with Reidy and numerous other witnesses, and with officials gathering additional information since Russell went on leave, sources said.
Reidy’s allegations alone, once assessed by MLB, would likely be enough to warrant Russell a suspension. That there is more out there would seem to make the case against him even stronger. The upshot: I think it’s extraordinarily unlikely that Russell will be back with the Cubs this year.