(KMOV)-- The Cardinals have their back-up catcher, but it's not Yadier Molina's brother Bengie. Instead, they signed Gerald Laird. He's a 31 year old right handed hitter who was with Detroit the past two seasons. Last year Laird hit .207 with 5 homeruns and 25 rbi's. He played about half the games with the Tigers. He has a career batting average of .242. He was the regular catcher for the Tigers in 2009, and with Texas in 2007. Laird has a strong throwing arm, but he's not considered to be a strong defensive catcher. In fact, he had the worst fielding percentage among all catchers in the major leagues in 2007.
The Cardinals had hoped to get a left handed hitting back-up catcher to compliment to Molina's, who hits from the right side. But they decided Laird was a better fit than any of the options still on the free agent market. He signed a one year contract pending a team physical. The signing of Laird means the Cardinals roster for 2011 is pretty much set. They may tinker with the bench, and add somebody to the bullpen, but it appears John Mozeliak has most of his shopping done well before Christmas.