Short supply of catchers paid off for Montero
I'm not sure it's ever a good idea for a team to give a player big money as a last resort. But that's sort of how the Diamondbacks got sucked into signing catcher Miguel Montero to a five-year, $60 million extension.
The D-Backs do not have a quality minor-league catcher behind Montero. They explored the trade market for young catchers, but the price for the Blue Jays' Travis D'Arnaud or Yankees' Austin Romine would have been a package that started with Double-A left-hander Tyler Skaggs. The D-Backs understandably did not want to compromise their pitching depth.
More veteran catchers such as the Blue Jays' J.P. Arencibia, Reds' Ryan Hanigan and Yankees' Francisco Cervelli also would not have come cheaply, if they even were available at all. And the coming free-agent market offered little in the way of solutions.
Montero, who turns 29 on July 9, is preferable to A.J. Pierzynski, Chris Iannetta, Russell Martin, et al (Pierzynski's current .850 OPS would be a career high, but he will be 37 next season). And the D-Backs figured that 10 to 12 teams – and perhaps five or six high-revenue clubs – will be in the market for catching this offseason.
So in the end, the D-Backs chose to bank on Montero. Did they overpay? Probably. Will they regret the deal? Perhaps. But the scarcity of catching forces teams into difficult decisions. Montero was a classic example.
Excerpted from Ken Rosenthal's weekly notes column. Rosenthal also weighs in on what figures to be a predictably unpredictable countdown to the trade deadline for teams like the Cubs, White Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles and Astros. Click here to read more.