Talks broke off earlier this week between Miguel Montero and the Arizona Diamondbacks regarding a contract extension for the All Star Catcher. Montero signed a one year deal worth $5.9 million dollars minutes before his arbitration hearing was scheduled on January 31st. Both sides agreed not to discuss anything regarding a new deal until after the 2012 season is complete. This is the same tact used last Spring Training with Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals, both sides agreeing to not let the contract talk become a distraction and the ending result was a World Series victory……and Pujols shuffling off to the Los Angeles Angels.
Now, I am not saying Montero is guaranteed to be a goner after the season. However, is it a coincidence that talks were shelved when word leaked that Yadier Molina and the Cardinals agreed to a 5 year, $75 million dollar extension? I would like to think not but as we know baseball, unfortunately like most things in life is dictated by money. Montero does own a home in the Phoenix area and has spent his entire career in the Valley. Maybe he gives the team a hometown discount; maybe he doesn’t. Complicating matters for Arizona fans is that Catcher Mike Napoli of the Texas Rangers is also set to become a free agent at the end of the season. So it seems both Napoli and Montero will be seeking Molina-type numbers when the calendar hits November.
So should D-Back fans be worried about Montero leaving? Given the fact they are serious World Series contenders and both sides will not talk until after the season, I wouldn’t be concerned yet. There is so much potential for Arizona in 2012 that the only talk around the team should be about its on-field performance. As for a new Montero contract, while his offensive numbers are better than Molina’s, he is not the feared defender behind the plate the Cardinal backstop is. Plus, Molina is a two-time World Series Champion and hit one of the most memorable home runs of the past 20 years, his two run blast in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS pushing the Cardinals into the World Series. I would say a fair deal for Montero would be four years and between $48 and $51 million dollars. Anything over that will probably be the end of his career with the Diamondbacks.
But that’s a story for next offseason. Let Miguel Montero, the Diamondbacks and the fans enjoy what promises to be a fun 2012.
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