The chance of losing Miguel Montero to free agency and the absence of an alternative that would bring in anyone of comparable capability led the Arizona Diamondbacks to agree to $60 million, 5-year contract with the 28-year-old catcher that covers 2013-17.
Montero will make $10 million the following 2 years, $12 million in 2015 and $14 million in 2016 and 2017.
Montero signed the deal on Saturday, he said at a meeting that he never wanted to leave the franchise that he has been part of since agreeing to a $13,000 deal 11 years ago. Baseball spreads
General Manager Kevin Towers said that the free-agent market won’t be a very good one after this season and Montero would have been at the head of the list for the 10 to 12 teams that will be looking for catchers.
“We did our required research, looking at who’s out there, what kind of price we’d put on those fellows compared to Miggy,” Towers declared. “To me, even if it was kind of an overpay situation it was well advantageous just thanks to the importance of the placement, the player and the intangibles that he brings.”
Towers asserted there is no question that when Yadier Molina confirmed a $75 million, five-year handle the Cardinals in March a deal that also covers 2013-17, “it showed a change in the market, especially for catchers.”
Arizona and Montero’s agents suspended agreement talks this spring, saying any farther talks would be put off till the season was over. But about 2 weeks ago, the Diamondbacks approached Montero’s people to try to work out a deal.
While the Diamondbacks fretted about losing their clubhouse leader and the man who directs the pitching staff, Montero stated that he never intended to go any place else.
“I was pretty clear with my agents. I told them that I actually wish to sign here, I want to stay here,” he claimed. “I never visualized myself playing for another team, to be honest. I feel a bit like here is where I belong, so I was clear enough to tell them we need to get something done with the Diamondbacks.”
Montero, who bats left handed, is a vocation .270 hitter. He had career bests in several categories in helping Arizona win the NL West last year, hitting .282 with 18 home runs, 36 doubles and a team-high 86 RBIs. He led the National League by throwing out 47.1% of base runners making an attempt to steal last season and is 1st in that category once again this year at 47.6%. But, like the remainder of the team, he has struggled at the plate, hitting .255 with 2 homers and 21 RBIs.
His contribution goes beyond the numbers, executive Kirk Gibson said.
“I’m unsure everybody understands the significance of having a catcher like Miguel Montero,” Gibson said. “The things that we’ve developed over the years and continue to acquire, the things which he must run, you’re not just squatting back there putting fingers down.”