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Tigers had talks with Astros about acquiring a catcher

Discussions apparently involved Houston's Corporan, but Detroit has since moved on
MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- The Tigers picked up the club option on Alex Avila's contract earlier this week, but they remain in the news surrounding catching. While Major League sources confirmed a report from FOXSports.com that Detroit had talks with the Astros about their catching surplus, the source said talks ended with the Tigers moving on.

The Astros have three catchers on their roster following the addition of former Angels backstop Hank Conger two weeks ago. Talks with the Tigers supposedly centered around switch-hitting backup Carlos Corporan, who has pounded Tigers pitching the last two years (9-for-22, three HRs, four RBIs). Two of those home runs came off Max Scherzer in 2013. Corporan also homered off Evan Reed this past May.

DETROIT -- The Tigers picked up the club option on Alex Avila's contract earlier this week, but they remain in the news surrounding catching. While Major League sources confirmed a report from FOXSports.com that Detroit had talks with the Astros about their catching surplus, the source said talks ended with the Tigers moving on.

The Astros have three catchers on their roster following the addition of former Angels backstop Hank Conger two weeks ago. Talks with the Tigers supposedly centered around switch-hitting backup Carlos Corporan, who has pounded Tigers pitching the last two years (9-for-22, three HRs, four RBIs). Two of those home runs came off Max Scherzer in 2013. Corporan also homered off Evan Reed this past May.

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Corporan, who turns 31 in January, is a .226 career hitter with 17 home runs and 63 RBIs in 199 career games. He would make sense as an offensive backup to a defensive-minded catcher, especially if the Tigers were to trade Avila and go with prospect James McCann or Bryan Holaday behind the plate. He set a career high with 48 starts for the Astros this past season, though it's unclear whether he could fill a platoon role.

The talks supposedly took place before the Tigers picked up Avila's $5.4 million option for 2015. The option pickup, however, doesn't necessarily guarantee Avila staying put. The move only guarantees cost certainty with Avila, rather than going to arbitration, in his final season before he's eligible for free agency.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Thursday many clubs are calling and asking him about the possibility of trading one of the four catchers on the 40-man roster, but added he's not actively trying to move any of those players.

Starter Jason Castro and backup Carlos Corporan have been entrenched the last three years with the Astros, and prospect Max Stassi has gotten a few at-bats the past two years. The Astros traded for Hank Conger earlier this month, giving them four catchers, so it wouldn't be surprising to see the Astros move one or two of them.

"We've got four catchers on the roster and we like all four of them and they call four can play in the Major Leagues right now, so that's a good spot to be in," Luhnow said. "We will be opportunistic. If a club has a need and has something we want, we're certainly going to listen and take advantage of it if we feel it's going to help our club. ... Certainly, we're having conversations with different clubs about different areas, and that is an area of strength for us and many clubs are asking about that."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Alex Avila, Carlos Corporan