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02/24/10 6:40 PM EST
D-backs hope to lock up Montero
Kendrick open to long-term deal with talented catcher
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Add catcher Miguel Montero's name to the list of players the D-backs are interested in signing to a multiyear contract. The club is currently negotiating with third baseman Mark Reynolds and outfielder Justin Upton on deals and in comments made on Wednesday, managing general partner Ken Kendrick said the club had interest in doing a deal with Montero as well. "He's certainly a guy that we have a lot of faith in for the future," Kendrick said. "So, yeah, I think there's potential opportunity to sign him for more than just a single year." Multiple sources said that, while the D-backs would explore a deal with Montero, negotiations had not yet begun. When asked about it following Wednesday's first full-squad workout, Montero said he did not know the D-backs were interested in a long-term deal with him. "I would like to," Montero said of being a long-term part of the organization. "But I haven't heard anything. I don't know anything about it. If you know, let me know. If they're thinking that way, that would be good. I like Phoenix. I'd like to stay here for a while. I like the team. I like the front office people; they're nice people. Obviously, I'd like to stay here for a while." Montero, 26, had a breakout year in 2009, when he took over for the injured Chris Snyder behind the plate in June and hit .294 with 16 homers, 59 RBIs and an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .832. Montero played so well, in fact, that the D-backs attempted to trade Snyder, who signed a multiyear deal of his own in December 2008, during the offseason. Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes stayed true to his policy of not commenting on ongoing negotiations, saying only that the team has a number of discussions about many things with different players.Reynolds and Upton, who are eligible for salary arbitration for the first time following the 2010 season, both recently confirmed reports that their representatives were discussing multiyear deals. Reynolds said the sides had talked about deals ranging from three to four years, though he declined to discuss dollar amounts. Upton was more circumspect in his comments, saying only that knew there had been some discussions, but he did not want to provide any details. Based on Byrnes' comments to fans during the team's FanFest almost two weeks ago, it seemed the club was trying to work out a six-year deal with Upton, which would buy out his first two years of free agency. Montero avoided arbitration in January, signing a one-year, $2 million contract. It was the first time that Montero had been eligible for arbitration after making $425,000 last season. In addition to Snyder, the D-backs also recently locked up outfielder Chris Young and pitcher Dan Haren to long-term deals. "Those are guys that are core players, and they're young players, and we'd like to not have it be a year-by-year struggle over arbitration," Kendrick said, adding Montero's name to the above mentioned players. "If we can get to the place where we have some free agent years that we can incorporate into a contract we're going to try and do that."
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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.