White Sox interested in Montero?
The White Sox are one of three teams inquiring about D-backs catcher Miguel Montero, according to a report Thursday in The Arizona Republic.
Montero, 31, is a two-time All-Star who has drawn interest from the crosstown-rival Cubs and Dodgers, as well as the South Siders.
The White Sox have been looking for a fixture at catcher since letting A.J. Pierzynski leave as a free agent following the 2012 season.
Tyler Flowers was given first crack at the job in 2013, before Josh Phegley took over as the season closed.
Chicago again stuck with Flowers (127 games) and Rule-5 Draft pick Adrian Nieto (48) last season, but Sox catchers combined to hit just .239/.293/.395 with 20 home runs and 64 RBIs.
The Sox aren’t necessarily looking to replace Flowers, because they like how he handles pitchers and calls games — the No. 1 trait they value in catchers. But they have looked for alternatives or complements in the past, including left-handed-hitting Astros catcher Jason Castro last year.
Montero signed a five-year, $60-million contract with Arizona after the 2012 season, a deal thought to be a great investment for a then-28-year-old catcher. But Montero’s average plummeted from .286 to .230 in 2013 as he played in only 116 games because of injuries.
He rebounded last year to make his second National League All-Star team, but finished with a .243/.329/.370 slashline, and the new D-backs regime appears willing to trade him for the right price.
Montero, a .264/.342/.421 career hitter over nine seasons, is due to make $12 million in 2015 and $14 million the next two seasons.
Russell Martin, the jewel of the free-agent catching class, signed a five-year, $82-million deal with the Blue Jays earlier this week. The rest of the remaining free-agent catching options — Geovany Soto, David Ross, J.P. Arencibia, etc. — are viewed more as backups.
– Cash Kruth