Miguel Montero's Price May Be More Than the Diamondbacks Can Offer

Chris GreenCorrespondent IIIMarch 5, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04:  (R) Manager Kirk Gibson greets Miguel Montero #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks at the dugout along with other Diamondback players after Montero scores on a Paul Goldschmidt #44 single in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Three of the National League Division Series at Chase Field on October 4, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Yadier Molina signed a 5-year, $75-million contract extension with the Arizona Diamondbacks last week, essentially ensuring that Miguel Montero will not be with the team next season.

Molina is a one of the better catches in the game, both defensively and offensively. Last season he hit .305 with 14 home runs and was a solid catcher.

Montero, while not on the same level defensively as Molina, is improving behind the plate and hit .282 with 18 home runs in 2011. 

Montero and Molina had nearly identical base percentages and slugging percentages.

Brian McCann is another catcher with nearly identical numbers to Montero, with a .270 batting average, 24 home runs, a .351 OBP and a .466 SLG percentage.  

McCann is scheduled to make $11.5 million in 2012.

Should Montero be seeking a salary in the Molina or McCann range it may be difficult for the Diamondbacks to resign him.

For catchers with more than 400 plate appearances, Montero ranked seventh in batting average and eighth in home runs.

For some perspective, top catchers and their salaries include Mike Napoli ($9.4 million), Victor Martinez ($13 million) and Joe Mauer ($23 million).

Miguel Montero is set to make $5.9 million in 2012.

While he’s not likely to get anywhere near the $23 million the Minnesota Twins will (regrettably) pay Joe Mauer, Molina has set the market price. Montero could easily command a salary of more than $10 million on the open market if he has a similar season to what he had last year.

However, the Diamondbacks do not have any players on their roster that are making more than $10 million per season.

There could be hope that Montero is resigned, though.

Many of the deferred salaries that Arizona still has on the books from 2001 will be coming off next year, which could free up the team to increase their payroll.   

However, with traditionally big-spending teams like the Red Sox, Mets and Dodgers all needing an upgrade behind the plate, the odds may be against Montero returning in 2012.