Report: Diamondbacks Open to Trading Miguel Montero?
By Joseph Jacquez
The Arizona Diamondbacks are reportedly willing to trade catcher Miguel Montero this winter for payroll flexibility according to a report by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Rival executives are saying that the Diamondbacks are willing to shop the 31 year old backstop. One Dbacks official told Rosenthal that the team is in “listening mode” in terms of deals for Montero.
Montero is owed 40 million over the next three seasons. The Diamondbacks front office is trying to reduce the teams payroll, and Montero’s contract might be too big for the Snakes budget next season.
After batting .286 with 15 HR, 88 RBI, a career high .391 OBP, and an .829 OPS in 2012, Montero’s offensive production has declined in the last two seasons.
Last season he batted .243 with 13 HR, 72 RBI, a .329 OBP, and a .699 OPS. This actually was a significant improvement from the 2013 season, but it was still a big drop off from 2012.
The biggest reason for Montero’s offensive decline is his workload. He caught the third most innings in 2014 just behind the Royals Salvador Perez, and the Brewers Jonathan Lucroy. Over the past four seasons no catcher has played more games than Montero.
Despite having negative defensive runs saved numbers over the past few seasons, he is regarded as one of the best pitch framing catchers in all of baseball, and he has always done a great job handling the pitching staff and the pen.
Listening to offers, and willing to trade are two very different propositions, and there are going to be several roadblocks to trading Montero.
First of all, the Dbacks don’t have a suitable replacement internally. Stryker Trahan hasn’t developed and has yet to play past Class A, and Peter O’Brien who was acquired in the Martin Prado deal, is a power prospect, but he has major flaws behind the plate.
Second, Montero’s age, declining offensive production, and his massive workload could be a major roadblock for many teams. One could make the case that if he is given more rest, he can get back to his 2012 form.
Plus, Montero’s decline in 2013 was because of flaws in his swing mechanics. He was always trying to swing for a home run. Last season, he shortened up his swing, and he had more success at the plate.
The catching market this offseason is very thin. Other than Russell Martin, there aren’t many options. Montero could be a reasonable option for teams looking for a backstop, practically if the Dbacks help pay down his salary.
The Diamondbacks already have $68.65 million dollars in salary commitments, and that doesn’t include potential increases for Addison Reed, Mark Trumbo, and infielder Cliff Pennington during the arbitration period.
If the Dbacks move Montero, then they would have to trade for a catcher or sign one in free agency, unless the team is confident in Tuffy Gosewisch as the starting catcher.
I just don’t see the Diamondbacks trading him especially since their is a big gap between him and the next option at the position. His departure would have an impact on the pitching staff.
The Dbacks want to upgrade the starting rotation, but there are plenty of affordable options without dealing Montero. The payroll is going to be less, but dealing Montero wouldn’t be a great choice.
Rosenthal also mentions that outfielder A.J. Pollock and starting pitcher Wade Miley are popular trade targets, but the Dbacks don’t want to trade either. Didi Gregorious and Chris Owings are also drawing interest from teams in need of middle infielders.