The Tigers catching situation

In the midst of a big unannounced move yesterday, the Tigers did make a small official moves. The Tigers signed catcher Robinzon Diaz to a minor league contract. It is mostly just a depth move, but it does give the Tigers a few options behind (or next to) Gerald Laird in 2010.

In 2009 the Tigers worked with a rotation of Dane Sardhina, Dusty Ryan, and Alex Avila as Laird’s caddy. Sardhina is just an abysmal hitter. Ryan has good pop and a cannon for an arm but seemingly couldn’t win over Jim Leyland. Avila burst on to the scene with the bat and probably raised expectations beyond a reasonable level with his August performance but he’s still quite new to catching.

So the Tigers inked Diaz to become an insurance policy. Avila needs to catch on a regular basis and initially it may be better if he does so in the minors. He went to winter ball but struggled. His struggles probably weren’t a large factor in the decision to get Diaz. But the Tigers expect for Diaz to compete for the back-up role regardless.

Some feel he can compete for a job as backup catcher in spring training
Dombrowski on Diaz

As for Diaz’s game, he has a decent defensive reputation and offensively he seems Randall Simon-esque in his refusal to not put the ball in play. He won’t be a game changer but he is another option.

Image credit Pshanks on flickr


  1. Michael

    December 9, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t have a problem with Avila beginning the year in AAA, but we can’t run Laird out there everyday with hs pathetic hitting. The back up has to play more and hit better then sardinha. If neither is hitting, you can then call Avila back up to assume the job, if he is ready. Avila getting playing time is really the best thing for him nwo and for his future.

    • rings

      December 9, 2009 at 2:15 pm

      What Michael said ^^^

      Adding to that, I think Laird did wear down a little bit and it affected his hitting. His burden was more than he’s ever done before and more than most catchers anyway. A dependable backup, to me, is a must, if for no other reason than it will make Gerald better.

  2. Tim D

    December 10, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Based on his minor league stats the .279 Diaz hit for the Pirates is for real. No power, and as Billfer noted, no walks. But also few K’s. A good low cost move for a back up. I can’t believe the Pirates just released this guy. Of course I can’t believe anything the Pirates do.