Arizona Diamondbacks Headed to Arbitration with Miguel Montero

Kevin BonnevilleContributor IIIJanuary 30, 2012

MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 07:  Miguel Montero #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks walks back to the dugout after striking out against  the Milwaukee Brewers during Game Five of the National League Division Series at Miller Park on October 7, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Unable to come to a long-term extension, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Miguel Montero are likely going to an arbitration hearing on Tuesday to decide the fate of the starting catcher's contract situation for the 2012 season.

According to reports, Montero's camp has asked for $6.8 million this season, while the Diamondbacks have countered with $5.4 million. Montero's agent believes he deserves that kind of bump in salary because of the number of games he played last season, and the salaries of comparable catchers like Mike Napoli and Yadier Molina.

Earlier in the offseason, Arizona GM Kevin Towers stated that he hoped to come to a long-term deal with Montero, in order to keep him in Arizona for the next several years. The two sides have talked plenty this offseason, but haven't come close to an agreement.

Montero had a great 2012 season. Miggy hit .282, the second best average of his career, to go along with 18 home runs and 86 RBI. The long ball and RBI totals were by far and away the best of his young career. Montero has also improved significantly on his defense, and his ability to call a ballgame the last two seasons.

If the D'Backs and Montero fail to come to an agreement on a contract extension, the catcher will be a free agent following the 2012 season. That's something they would want to avoid at all costs, because if Montero has another big season, he would cost a pretty penny on the free agent market.