Diamondbacks Sign Catcher Long Term
Arizona tried to sign catcher Miguel Montero during spring training to a deal reportedly worth $32 million over four years but with free agency looming after the season, the 28-year-old backstop decided to wait it out a little bit more.
Management viewed him with so much regard that they exceeded their initial offer and inked Montero to a five-year, $60 million extension. General Manager Kevin Towers couldn't imagine the team letting him walk away after the end of the season.
"If we were to label somebody the captain of our ballclub, this guy would be the captain," Towers said in a press conference to officially announce the deal Saturday. "He grinds it out each and every day. He's in the game from the first pitch to the last pitch of the game. We felt like we've landed one of the best catchers in the ballgame that's going to remain a Diamondback and I couldn't be happier."
At the end of it all fate favored Montero.
Some of his peers like Carlos Ruiz (Phillies) and Brian McCann (Braves) have options that will be picked up after the season is over, whatever catchers that could hit the free agency market this offseason aren't appealing and Arizona doesn't have anyone else in the farm that could step in and produce at the plate and handle the pitching staff the way he could.
And with St. Louis giving Yadier Molina a $75 million extension for five-years, playing the waiting game worked out after originally signing for only $13,000 as a teenager out of Venezuela.
"It's just a blessing to stay here and hopefully for the rest of my career. For me there wasn't another place to go. I'm glad we got everything done," said Montero, all smiles.
He hit .282 with 18 home runs, 136 hits, 65 runs, 86 RBIs, all career highs, but has struggled this season and during the past week has been dealing with a strained left groin. Through 38 games he is hitting .255 with two homers and 21 RBIs.
Still, Arizona manager Kirk Gibson sees past the struggles and appreciated the kind of player his catcher during the Diamondbacks tough season so far.
Not sure everybody understands the significance of having a catcher like Miguel Montero. The things we've developed over the years and continue to develop and the things he has to run," Gibson said before adding that "it's not just squatting back there, putting fingers down, there's a madness but there's also a structure to what he does back there in communication with all of his teammates on the field, off the field.
It's just a blessing to stay here and hopefully for the rest of my career. For me there wasn't another place to go.
"The way prepares for all the pitchers every game. Most of all is the energy he brings everyday to this ballpark is unbelievable.”
San Diego Hopes Carlos Quentin Adds to Offense
Coming into this season Padres manager Bud Black envisioned that penciling in Carlos Quentin would definitely add some much needed punch in the middle of the lineup.
But the wait has been a while as Quentin has been recuperating from a surgery on March 19 to repair the meniscus in his right knee.
Black said after Sunday's loss to the New York Mets that Quentin could be joining San Diego as the team ends its three-city, 10-game road trip in Chicago.
"This is a guy whose track record tells you that he's got power that he can knock in runs. I think that it'll make the lineup a little different," Black told the media before Sunday's game at Citi Field against the New York Mets.
Quentin joined Single-A Lake Elsinore and played on Friday and Saturday. He went 5-for-7 with a double, a homer, three RBI and scored three runs in two games. He sat out yesterday.
Black thinks Quentin, who will play left field and hit fourth in the order, has made a lot of progress ever since he last felt soreness in his knee after he started his comeback earlier during the month.
"It's really encouraging. You know I think this second go around at the rehab went remarkably better than the first obviously because he is confident with where the knee is," Black said. "We talked a lot about how he felt in the (batting) stance and how it was causing him a little bit discomfort. It happened this last number of games there. So he's doing well.
Padres’ rookie first baseman Yonder Alonso could benefit by having Quentin hitting in the cleanup spot.
Alonso understands what Quentin's addition to the lineup means to San Diego, who've scored 151 runs this season, second to last in all of baseball. The Pirates have scored a league-worst 140 runs.
The Padres have scored one run or less 13 times this season.
"It's big. He's a person that's going to help me too. He's very important in the lineup. He's a player that has power. He's a player that will play every day and is going to be a great part of our offense," Alonso told Fox News Latino.
Mets' Santana Turns The Clock Back
Could anyone have though that Johan Santana would be performing the way he has this season, especially during Saturday's complete game winning effort against San Diego, after coming back from a surgery that has been a tough one to recover from for many pitchers in baseball.
Santana looked like the Santana of old, the ace that once dominated hitters, keeping the Padres off balance with an array of fastballs and changeups that resembled the pitcher the Mets got from the Minnesota Twins.
It was the first complete game shutout since 2010 for Santana, who underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.
"I didn't know how everything was going to be coming into the season," said Santana, who is 2-2 this season with a 2.75 ERA through 10 starts.
"I was definitely waiting to have an opportunity and go out there and build from there."
Vladimir Guerrero Begins Stint in Minors, Blue Jays Expect June Return
Vladimir Guerrero started his comeback to the majors Sunday with the Toronto Blue Jays affiliate in the Single-A Florida State league and homered.
Guerrero, who signed a minor league deal earlier this month, went 2 for 5 with two runs scored and one RBI while hitting number two for Dunedin as their DH.
The plan is to have Guerrero play in a few games with Dunedin before possibly moving up to Double-A New Hampshire or Triple-A Las Vegas and joining the Blue Jays in June.
Toronto manager John Farrell told reporters before Sunday's game that while Guerrero will primarily be a DH, he could eventually see some action in left field now that his knees are in better shape.
So far the Blue Jays have gotten positive feedback from Guerrero's performance during action in extended spring training games. He's hit 8-for-26. Farrell said that they will test the 37-year-old veteran and see how he responds in the outfield, too.
“He's swinging the bat with the typical aggressiveness that people remember him [having],” Farrell said in a report according to mlb.com. "He's running very well and he's running actually better than he did a year ago.”