January 2012

D-backs and Roberts settle for $2.0125 million

PHOENIX — It was a busy Tuesday morning for the D-backs.

After reaching a settlement just moments before a salary-arbitration hearing with catcher Miguel Montero, the D-backs settled with another salary-arbitration eligible player in third baseman Ryan Roberts.

According to Roberts agency, Beverly Hills Sports Council, the deal is worth $2.0125.

More than anyone, Roberts typified the 2011 season for the upstart D-backs. A long shot to make the team in Spring Training, he led all of baseball in batting average during the spring and wound up as the club’s Opening Day third baseman.

Roberts went on to hit .249 with 86 runs scored, 25 doubles, 19 homers and 65 RBIs while getting on base at a .341 clip as the D-backs unexpectedly won 94 games and the National League West title.

Roberts had asked for $2.275 million when arbitration figures were exchanged a couple of weeks ago and the D-backs submitted a $1.65 million figure.

The Montero and Roberts signings leave the D-backs with left-handed reliever Craig Breslow as their lone unsigned arbitration-eligible player.

D-backs and Montero agree on one-year deal $5.9 million

PHOENIX — Just moments before a scheduled salary-arbitration was scheduled to begin the D-backs and catcher Miguel Montero settled on a one-year deal worth $5.9 million.

“I was sitting in the [hearing] room,” Montero said by phone from Tampa. “I was getting a bottle of water right before it was supposed to start and they told me to step outside to talk.”

When arbitration numbers were exchanged a couple of weeks ago, Montero filed at $6.8 million, while the D-backs came in at $5.4 million. The arbitrator would have had to pick one of the two figures.

“It feels so nice,” Montero said of having the issue settled. “I feel relieved and happy to get it done, man. I can’t wait to get to Spring Training and start playing. That’s the fun part. That’s what it’s all about. We’re going to have a good team again this year.”

The D-backs pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 20 and have their first workout the following day.

Montero has said he would like to stay with the D-backs long-term and while the two sides have talked this offseason about a multi-year deal, they have not been able to get one done. Montero will be eligible for free agency following the 2012 season.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Montero said. “I haven’t thought about that yet, just about arbitration so we’ll see what happens.”

In 2011, Montero led National League catchers in doubles (36), RBIs (84) and slugging percentage (.471) and was second in home runs (18) and on-base plus slugging (.821).

The D-backs have not gone to a salary-arbitration hearing with a player since they lost to Damian Miller in 2001 and have been to a hearing just twice in franchise history. They beat Jorge Fabregas in 1998.

The D-backs still have two unsigned players eligible for salary arbitration this year in third baseman Ryan Roberts and left-handed reliever Craig Breslow.

Some contract details

Here are contract details for some deals reached by the D-backs this winter:

– Reliever Takashi Saito, signed to a one-year $1.75 million deal in mid-December has a clause in his contract where the D-backs where pay for an interpreter with a maximum salary of $45,000. In addition, Saito gets eight round-trip business class tickets from Tokyo to Arizona.

– A perk in left-hander Joe Saunders’ one-year $6 million deal, is a hotel suite during road trips.

– Outfielder Jason Kubel will receive $7.5 million in 2012 and 2013 with a mutual option of $7.5 million for 2014. Kubel will receive a $500,000 buyout if the club declines his option.

– Non-roster invitee Cody Ransom has a split contract that pays him $19,000 per month while in Minor Leagues and a salary of $500,000 if he’s in the big leagues. If he is not on the Major League roster on April 4, Ransom can request his release. The D-backs then have 24 hours to grant him that release or add him to the roster.

– Non-roster invitee Jason Lane has a split contract that pays him $10,000 a month in the Minor Leagues and $500,000 if in the big leagues.

D-backs talking to Bartolo Colon

PHOENIX — Could Bartolo Colon be the fifth starter the D-backs have been looking for?

The D-backs seem to believe so as a baseball source said they were in talks to sign the right-hander.

Colon was 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA in 29 games (26 starts) for the Yankees last season. The 38-year-old did not pitch in 2010 and signed a Minor League deal with the Yankees after undergoing stem cell treatment for elbow and rotator cuff injuries.

Thanks to a strong performance in the spring, Colon made the Yankees roster and was an effective starter before seeming to tire down the stretch. In September, Colon posted a 5.96 ERA and was not added to the team’s postseason roster.

The D-backs rotation currently consists of Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Trevor Cahill and Josh Collmenter with the fifth spot set to come from a group of young pitchers that includes among others Wade Miley, Barry Enright, Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Bauer and Charles Brewer.

Given the youth and inexperience of that group, the D-backs had hoped to add a veteran fifth starter as added depth in case none of the young starters were able to make the jump to the big leagues.

– Steve Gilbert

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