Remember a few weeks ago when Gerald Laird looked like the 1998 version of Jason Kendall? Laird was gunning down runners, hitting for average and just looking like a beast out there behind the plate. However, his performance has really fallen off the past few weeks. Will the real Gerald Laird please stand up?
Laird is currently hitting only .215 and that’s just not going to get the job done. While Laird is not expected to be a major run producer, you’d like to see him hit at least .260, wouldn’t you? Early in the season, it’s already been a tale of two seasons for Laird.
- Opening Day-April 25: .340/.426/.489 1 HR, 5 RBI
- April 27-Today: .031/.179/.031 0 HR, 2 RBI
Quite the difference there. I think we can all agree that Gerald Laird is not a .340 hitter nor is he a .031 hitter. Up until right now, I don’t think I knew he had been quite so bad the past couple of weeks. Still, that is better than ol’ Matt Treanor.
Laird is a .252 career hitter over 398 games, so instead of panicking over the past two weeks, I bet the guy gets things figured out here pretty soon. Like most hitters, especially catchers, Laird will go through some slumps. Peep these dry spells from 2008 while he was with the Rangers:
- April 8-14: .150 average
- August 4-17: .125 average
- September 10-28: .186 average
Could it be that Laird just isn’t cut out to be a full-time catcher? Here are his stats from his final three seasons with the Rangers:
- 2006: .296/.332/.473 105 OPS+
- 2007: .224/.278/.349 64 OPS+
- 2008: .276/.329/.398 92 OPS+
Laird was the Rangers full-time catcher in only one of those seasons, can guess what year that was? That’s right, 2007. That season is the only year in his career that Laird played in at least 100 games in a single season. He played 120 games that year, the next highest being the 95 he played in last season.
Clearly that was only one season and it could have just been a down year for Laird. I am still a big fan of Gerald and thinks he deserves the benefit of the doubt. He just may benefit from a few more days off. We’ll see how Jim Leyland handles this slump.