D’Backs catcher Miguel Montero cut off extension talks with the Arizona front office earlier this spring.
And it sounds like they might never resume.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Montero “is said to be looking for a deal similar to Victor Martinez’s $52-million, four-year contract (with the Tigers), and the chances for him to make a deal with Arizona appear slim under those conditions.”
Also hurting the Snakes’ cause is the recent five-year, $75 million extension struck between the Cardinals and Yadier Molina.
Montero, 28, posted a .282/.351/.469 batting line with 18 home runs and 86 RBI in 140 games last season. He’ll earn $5.9 million in 2012 before hitting the free agent market five days after the World Series.
In an age in which even baseball’s richest teams talk about tight budgets and keeping payroll low, it’s pretty rare to hear anyone connected with a front office talking about freely spending money. Phillies owner John Middleton, however, offered up something rare about the team’s approach to free agency.
“We’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,” he told Bob Nightengale or USA Today. He then added, “we just prefer not to be completely stupid.” That save aside, it was a pretty unusual sentiment these days.
“Stupid” could certainly mean Bryce Harper, who the Phillies have long been expected to pursue. It could even mean Harper and Manny Machado. Why not? At the moment the Phillies’ payroll for 2019 is looking to be just a shade above $100 million, so even adding, say, $70 million to that would not put them in an unreasonable position compared to other competitors. And that’s before you figure in any sort of back-loading or deferred money that Harper and/or Machado might agree to.
Or, even if they didn’t get one or both of those guys, they could spend that same kind of money on multiple free agents. Patrick Corbin? Marwin Gonzalez? A handful of others? We counted down the top 100 free agents last week and any number of them could be acquired given the sort of payroll flexibility a large market team like the Phillies appear to have. It merely requires the will to do it. A will which, it seems, John Middleton possesses.