With having addressed pretty much all of their needs this offseason, the Diamondbacks have turned their attention to locking up starting catcher Miguel Montero to a long-term contract. Heading into his final year of arbitration, the Venezuelan is expected to receive about $5.2 million in 2012.
Montero will be a free agent after this coming season and will be allowed to sign anywhere of his choosing if the Diamondbacks can’t come to an agree with him on a new contract.. Montero is coming off of his most complete season of his career where he hit .282 with 18 home runs and 86 RBI’s.
Talks between Montero’s side and the Diamondbacks have gotten anywhere so far, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Kevin Towers has said that he wants to sign the catcher to a mutli-year contract rather just kick the bucket down the road just and sign him to a a one-year deal.
One of the majors reasons why the discussions between the two sides have stalled is because there hasn’t been a lot of catchers that have signed extensions in recent years. It makes it difficult for Montero to ask for a deal and for Arizona to offer him one when there isn’t a frame of reference to get a contract in place.
The most recent signing that comes to memory was Victor Martinez’s deal with Detroit during last offseason. V-Mart signed a four-year, $50 million contract that will keep in a Tigers uniform through the 2014 season. Martinez is no longer considered a catcher though having mostly been the DH last season, so the money he received is not a great indicator on what Arizona should pay Montero.
One of the guy that Montero stacks up to numbers wise with is Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves. McCann signed a six-year, $26.8 million contract that started during the 2007 season and he will be paid $11.66 million in the final year of his deal in 2012.
I don’t think Montero is quite worth that kind of money per season, but I think if Arizona offers him a five-year contract worth $8-9 million per season, I think he would be hard pressed to turn that down. That would be a nice bump from what he is getting currently, it would give him some long-term certainty and he could become a free agent one more time once the deal is over.
If he signed that deal, Montero would be one of the top three best paid catchers in the game and would make him one of the richest Diamondbacks behind Justin Upton and possibly Chris Young depending on how much gets per season.
Hopefully the front office and Montero can come to an agreement before spring training gets under way. You don’t want this to go into the regular season where the likelihood of a deal getting done is a lot less than hashing one out during the offseason. If Arizona doesn’t come to an agreement on a multi-year deal with him, Montero would be a hot commodity on the free agent market.