Today, the Arizona Diamondbacks signed catcher Miguel Montero to a one-year, $3.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Normally this transaction wouldn't be much more than a blip on the radar screen, except for one distinction that is now true: Rod Barajas is the highest-paid catcher in the NL West.
The Dodgers will be paying the 35-year old catcher $3.25 million to play in his hometown. While Barajas enjoyed a 25-game renaissance in Los Angeles, his 2010 ended with a .284 on-base percentage for the season, the same as his career mark. The 2011 Bill James Handbook projects Barajas to hit .233/.279/.408 this season, while Dan Szymborski's ZiPS projects Barajas to hit .245/.283/.443. National League catchers hit .253/.326/.388 in 2010, so with Barajas, like Juan Uribe in a way, the Dodgers are trading on-base percentage for slugging, at least in an abstract sense.
With a little help from Cot's Baseball Contracts, here are the other catcher salaries in the NL West:
Dodgers: Barajas, $3.25 million; Dioner Navarro, $1 million
- Arizona: Montero, $3.2 million; Henry Blanco, $1 million; Arizona also paid $3 million last July to Pittsburgh to cover part of Chris Snyder's salary for the remainder of 2010 and all of 2011.
Colorado: Chris Iannetta, $2.55 million; Jose Morales, team control
- San Diego: Nick Hundley, team control; Rob Johnson, team control
- San Francisco: Buster Posey, team control; Eli Whiteside, team control
Those under team control will likely make under $500,000 in 2011, with the major league minimum at either $414,000 or $414,500, depending on whom you believe.
In other news, old near friend Alfredo Amezaga, who signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers last winter but was hurt almost all year, signed a minor league deal with Colorado, per Ken Rosenthal.