The Cardinals signed catcher Gerald Laird on a one-year deal, the team announced. SI's Jon Heyman reports that the contract will pay Laird $1MM. He can earn another $300K in incentives. Laird will serve as Yadier Molina's backup, replacing Jason LaRue.
Laird, 31, hit .207/.263/.304 in 299 plate appearances for the Tigers this year, catching 670 2/3 innings. He gunned down 34% of attempted basestealers, so the Cardinals will never be easy to run on in 2011. Laird's offensive woes in his two-year Detroit stint have relegated him to backup duty, and his starts could be particularly rare given Molina's durability.
Laird is represented by Scott Boras. Our transaction tracker reveals that he's the fourth Boras client to sign this winter. The free agent market for catchers is down to four viable options, three if Bengie Molina retires.