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Nationals sign Miguel Montero

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The Washington Nationals have signed catcher Miguel Montero to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Matt Wieters is the starting catcher in Washington, but Montero will compete for the backup job.

The 34-year-old Montero once possessed a pretty useful bat for a catcher, and was selected for a couple of All-Star teams. He hit a meager .216/.310/.346 in 76 games last year between the Cubs and Blue Jays, however and he didn’t make many friends while doing it. Specifically, his tenure with the Cubs ended after he publicly criticized teammate Jake Arrieta for his alleged inability to hold baserunners. He didn’t produce at all once he joined the Jays but he didn’t prove himself to be a toxic clubhouse presence there either, so maybe you can call it improvement.

In other news, the two biggest transactions of the day involved guys who, if everything breaks right, can land a bench job. Settle down hot stove, ya burnin’ me.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.