Long-term contract talks between Diamondbacks and Miguel Montero “are at a standstill”

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Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said yesterday that he’d like to sign catcher Miguel Montero to a long-term contract extension, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that talks “are at a standstill.”

Montero is coming off a career-best season and his first All-Star selection, so with free agency one year away he may not be all that motivated to pass up the open market. Montero will likely earn at least $5 million in 2012 via the arbitration process and another strong season would put him in line for a big payday as a 28-year-old free agent.

Piecoro speculates the Arizona is offering a three-year deal and Montero is asking for a five-year deal, and if that’s the case Montero has good reason to turn down the Diamondbacks’ proposal. Rarely does an in-his-prime, All-Star player accept a three-year contract when he’s just one season away from free agency.

Report: Yankees J.A. Happ, closing in on a three-year deal

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UPDATE: Rosenthal is now walking the report back a bit, saying that indications that the Yankees and Happ are close to a deal but that it is not yet done.

10:29 AM: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Yankees and J.A. Happ have come to terms on a three-year deal. The agreement is pending a physical. The financial terms are not yet known.

Happ just turned 36, but he has been effective enough to warrant a three-year commitment. The Yankees know this as well as anyone, having acquired him last year and watched him post a 7-0 record and a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts in New York. For the entire season he was 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 193/51 in 177.2 innings between the Yankees and the Blue Jays.

With Happ back in the fold, the Yankees rotation now consists of Luis Severino, James Paxton, Happ, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia, not necessarily in that order. A good group, assuming it stays healthy.