Miguel Montero Rumors

Towers On Montero, Roster, Draft, Int’l Signings

Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers answered questions from fans during an MLB.com chat today, and here are some of the hot stove-related items…

  • The D'Backs and Miguel Montero are "quite a ways a part in dollars right now" in regards to a multiyear extension but "there's a desire to get something worked out on both ends and that's a real plus."  The two sides avoided arbitration just minutes before their schedule hearing when Montero agreed to a one-year, $5.9MM deal.  Back in September, I suggested that a three-year, $21MM extension (plus an $11MM option for 2015) would be a fair price for a Montero extension.
  • Towers said the team is probably done making Major League roster moves for the offseason.  The D'Backs only remaining needs are minor league catchers and middle infielders to add depth.
  • To that same end, Towers said the D'Backs will look at second basemen, catchers and overall put a larger emphasis on quick, athletic position players in the amateur draft.  Towers admitted that it's hard to predict what players will still be around when Arizona makes the 26th pick of the first round, but "we're hopeful we can continue to pick at the back end of the draft, as that would mean our big league club is playing well."
  • The Snakes will "be much more aggressive than we have in years past" on international signings, Towers said, due to the new collective bargaining agreement's cap on draft signings.  Towers predicts several other clubs will be similarly active with international players.

D’Backs Notes: Hall, Payroll, Montero

The Diamondbacks avoided arbitration with Miguel Montero and Ryan Roberts earlier today, which makes Craig Breslow their lone unsigned arbitration eligible player. Here’s the latest on the team…

  • Yahoo's Steve Henson offers a behind-the-scenes look at the path Derrick Hall took on his recovery from prostate cancer. The D'Backs president and CEO has a knack for connecting with fans and team employees, as Henson explains in this highly recommended piece.
  • Also within the piece, Henson explains that Hall is on MLB's short list of candidates to replace Bud Selig when he retires. Several bidders for the Dodgers have approached Hall about becoming their CEO, so the 43-year-old is clearly in high demand.
  • Team payroll is up to $80MM, though they had anticipated spending $65-70MM, Henson writes. The D'Backs expect additional revenues to stream in via their advertising partnerships.
  • GM Kevin Towers says the team is “quite a ways apart” in extension talks with Montero, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets. The gap exists in terms of dollars, rather than years. Montero hopes to conclude extension talks by late March, Piecoro tweets.

Diamondbacks, Montero Avoid Arbitration

The Diamondbacks announced that they avoided arbitration with catcher Miguel Montero (Twitter link). The sides agreed to terms on a one-year, $5.9MM deal minutes before this morning's scheduled hearing, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweets.

As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, Montero and his representatives at Octagon had asked for $6.8MM, while the Diamondbacks had countered with a $5.4MM offer. The Diamondbacks now have two unsigned arbitration eligible players: Ryan Roberts and Craig Breslow.

Montero, who earned $3.2MM in 2011, is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility. He posted a .282/.351/.469 line with 18 home runs in 553 plate appearances last year, when he made his first All-Star team. He'll join Yadier MolinaMike Napoli and Russell Martin on next year's free agent market, assuming he doesn't sign an extension first.

Montero, Diamondbacks Likely To Go To Hearing

The Diamondbacks and catcher Miguel Montero appear to be headed to a hearing on Tuesday morning, major-league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The 28-year-old is asking for $6.8MM while the Diamondbacks are offering $5.4MM.

Earlier this month, D'Backs GM Kevin Towers said that he hoped to keep Montero "well beyond this year".  At the time, Towers said that there weren't a lot of relevant comparables at the catcher position. 

According to Rosenthal, the Diamondbacks view Mike Napoli as Montero’s biggest comparable but Montero’s agents at Octagon disagree.  Napoli, they argue, is only a part-time catcher while Montero tied Yadier Molina's for the most starts at the position last season with 131. 

Napoli signed with the Rangers for $5.8MM in arbitration last season as a player with a little more than four years of service, one fewer than Montero.  A midpoint settlement of $6.1MM for Montero would give him more than what Brian McCann and Yadier Molina earned as five-plus players in multiyear deals.

Last year, Montero hit .282/.351/.469 with 18 homers in 553 plate appearances.  If Montero and the D'Backs don't reach agreement on a multi-year deal, the catcher will be a free agent after the 2012 season.

Arbitration Filing Numbers

Many players avoided arbitration today, but dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won't go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays and Braves have stuck to 'file and trial' policies in the past. 

MLBTR's arbitration tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights — players who filed for $4MM or more. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com had most of the info with MLBTR and others also contributing:

D’Backs Notes: Parra, Montero, Drew

Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he’s open to the idea of adding another starting pitcher before Spring Training begins. If the D’Backs do add an arm, expect a bargain. "We're trying to identify the right guy," Towers said. "Someone who sees an opportunity to compete, who knows what the competition is and wants to do it." Here are the rest of Piecoro’s notes:

  • Teams called about Gerardo Parra after the D’Backs signed Jason Kubel, but Towers expects Parra to pick up significant playing time in 2012. "I'm not really motivated to move him," he said. Towers expects Parra to see more playing time in center and right, especially against tough right-handers.
  • The D’Backs haven’t made major progress toward an extension with Miguel Montero, but they still hope to keep him “well beyond this year,” according to Towers. The catcher projects to earn $5.3MM in 2012, his final season before hitting free agency. There aren’t a lot of relevant catcher extensions for the sides to use as a frame of reference for a possible deal, according to Towers. “I think Miggy likes it here and we like him here. We just have to keep working at it," the GM said. 
  • Agent Jose Mijares recently said the sides are nearing an agreement on a 2012 salary for the extension candidate.
  • Stephen Drew is recovering from ankle surgery and still hopes to start the season on time.

International Notes: Zambrano, Cabrera, Montero

Links are in Spanish…

  • Rumors have been circulating in Carlos Zambrano's home country of Venezuela about a possible trade to Miami, writes Marlins beat writer Luis Rangel at El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language counterpart to the Miami Herald (via Twitter). Rangel adds that he's heard from the team that "it's not true."
  • Asdrubal Cabrera will begin contract negotiations with the Indians next week, his agent Jose Mijares of Octagon told Jose Manuel Fernandez at El Universal in Venezuela. Tim Dierkes analyzed Cabrera as an multiyear extension candidate yesterday, though Mijares didn't mention any prospect of a long-term deal. "The team will send us a figure, and we'll respond," he said. "I don't think there will be any problems in signing soon. My experience with Cleveland tells me that there won't be any need to go to arbitration."
  • In the same piece, Mijares said that another of his arbitration-eligible clients, Miguel Montero, is close to agreeing with the Diamondbacks on a figure for 2012. "Montero has more points in his favor than Cabrera," Mijares said. "He was the leader many offensive categories among National League catchers." Montero's strong 2011 campaign led MLBTR's Mark Polishuk to identify him as an extension candidate back in September.  For 2012, Matt Swartz projects a $5.3MM salary.
  • Vicente Padilla told Edgard Rodriguez C. at La Prensa in Nicaragua that three teams have showed interest in him recently. Two days ago, another Nicaraguan paper reported that the Marlins were eyeing Padilla, but the pitcher said there is nothing firm between him and any team. More importantly to the 34-year-old righty's Major League prospects, his neck is pain-free and his fastball has reportedly been up around 95-96 mph this winter.
  • Miguel Tejada told Pappy Perez at El Nacional in the Dominican Republic that he wants to invest in the Dominican Winter League team the Aguilas Cibaeñas when his Major Leauge career is through. But he emphasized that he's not retired yet. "I've had a bad season, but that's not to say that I'm done, and my goal is to show that I can still be a player at the highest level. That's my goal these days," Tejada insisted.
  • Sources close to Amaury Sanit tell Fernando Ballesteros at Puro Béisbol in Mexico that the Dodgers are interested in signing the 32-year-old Cuban reliever. Sanit logged just seven innings out of the Yankees' pen last season before being released in June, but he has seen more action as the closer for the Culicán Tomateros in the Mexican League this winter, pitching to a 0.62 era in 36 appearances.

Quick Hits: Nats, White, Montero, Cespedes, Mets

Let's catch up on some links that have taken a backseat while we wait with bated breath to find out where Albert Pujols will sign

  • The Nationals prefer to trade minor leaguers over big leaguers, as Mark Zuckerman writes at Nats Insider.
  • Dodgers assistant GM Logan White interviewed today for the Astros' GM opening, as MLB.com Brian McTaggart writes.
  • The Diamondbacks are at the "very early stages" of negotiations on a Miguel Montero contract extension, said GM Kevin Towers. He doesn't expect anything to be resolved this week, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
  • Yoenis Cespedes is still awaiting residency in the Dominican Republic, but when he gets it, bidding should be fast and strong, tweets Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.
  • J.D. Martin has agreed to a minor league contract with the Marlins, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
  • Brandon Warne of Fangraphs breaks down the trade that sent Kevin Slowey to the Rockies.
  • The Mets will fill their backup catcher opening with an in-house option rather than a free agent, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

D’Backs Prioritizing Montero Extension At Meetings

The Diamondbacks are prioritizing an extension for Miguel Montero, writes Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports. Last month we heard that while there's mutual interest between the two sides, discussions were at an impasse. The 27-year-old backstop played in a career-high 140 games, batting .282/.351/.469 in 2011.

Within the same piece, Ringolsby says the Snakes must also decide whether or not to bring back lefty Joe Saunders. Saunders is in line for a big raise from his $5.5MM salary in 2011, and the D'Backs have the depth to non-tender him and fill the spot internally with names like Jarrod Parker, Tyler Skaggs, and Trevor Bauer.

Extension Talks Between Montero, D’Backs At Impasse

Despite mutual interest between Miguel Montero and the Diamondbacks for a long-term extension, talks between the two sides have come to a standstill, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. While neither Montero nor GM Kevin Towers suggested what sort of terms were being discussed, Piecoro says talks are at an impasse because Montero is seeking more guaranteed years than the D'Backs are comfortable offering.

Montero told Piecoro in September that he enjoys playing for the D'Backs and he'd be willing to discuss an extension with Arizona if the team was interested. Shortly before Montero expressed a desire to stay in Arizona long-term, MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined what sort of contract the catcher might be looking at if he agreed to a three-year extension.

The 28-year-old is coming off his first All-Star season, having hit .282/.351/.469 with 18 homers in a career-high 553 plate appearances. Montero is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility, with MLBTR projecting a raise to about $5.3MM for 2012. Piecoro writes that there's no rush to work out a deal quite yet, with the arbitration process a couple months off, but that the two sides will likely want finality before the start of the season.