Catchers who can change a game with their bat on a nightly basis are a rare commodity in the game of baseball. Miguel Montero, who will turn 29 years old in a few months, is one of those catchers. And with the slugger set to become a free agent at the end of the season, he and the Arizona Diamondbacks worked hastily to get a contract extension worked out during the season.
The numbers on the reported deal: 5 years, $60 million. Not too shabby for a couple years of work.
With the extension expected to be announced on Saturday from Chase Field, Montero will officially receive the largest contract in franchise history. Is he worth the money?
For this article we will use WAR. No, not that kind of war, but rather Wins Above Replacement. It's a pretty nifty stat that determines just how valuable a player is, and it incorporates things such as the position they play, how well they run the bases, their defense, and, of course, their hitting. You can read more about it here.
According to FanGraphs, Montero was worth 4.4 WAR in 2011, making him one of the best catchers in the game. He was worth 1.5 WAR in 2010, 2.8 WAR in '09. With today's current market for free agents, one "win", something Montero was worth 4.4 of last season, goes for just under $5 million on the open market.
By this statistic Montero was worth approximately $22 million last season. He was worth about $7 million in 2010, about $13 million in 09.
Needless to say, Montero is a very valuable piece of the Diamondbacks' franchise. And for $12 million a season for the next five years, it appears to be a pretty solid deal for Arizona.
It will be worth more than Justin Upton's contract extension, which will span six years and just upwards of $51 million. It even exceeds the $36 million the club gave Randy Johnson, although that was a completely different era.
You always worry about handing a catcher a lengthy contract worth a lot of money, but this does look like a pretty solid deal for all parties involved.
For more on the D-backs, check out AZ Snake Pit.