When the Diamondbacks signed Stephen Drew and Joe Saunders, it left two arbitration eligible players remaining on the 40-man roster. Starting catcher Miguel Montero and second baseman Kelly Johnson exchanged salary figures with the team as part of the arbitration process.
Montero asked for $3.4 million while the Diamondbacks countered with an offer of $2.8 million. With the two sides only $600,000 apart a deal seems well within reach. Montero has blossomed into a good hitting catcher who has also made improvements to his defense.
He is known as being a good clubhouse presence and an energetic player who keeps the team focused. Besides these intangibles Montero is also very team friendly willing to leave dollars on the table if it means the team will improve. The expectation is that Montero will sign a one-year contract with the team before his scheduled arbitration hearing.
Second baseman Kelly Johnson came to the Diamondbacks last off-season after the Atlanta Braves non-tendered him making him a free agent. Johnson had a bounce back season starting with an amazing April that saw him lead the Diamondbacks in nearly every offensive category.
Given his success last season, Johnson seemed to be possibly the most difficult of the four arbitration eligible players Arizona would have to deal with. This has nearly come to fruition when Johnson and the team exchanged salary figures.
Johnson requested a salary of $6.5 million for 2011 while the Diamondbacks countered with an offer of $4.7 million. Given the large disparity between the two figures, both sides will sit down and attempt to hammer out a deal.
With the Diamondbacks not having many good alternatives at second base in the near future, look for the team to attempt to offer a multi-year deal at least through 2012. This will give them time to groom a replacement if Johnson leaves or extend the contract if it makes sense.