SAN DIEGO -- The D-backs acquired a pair of Minor League right-handed pitchers, Jeferson Mejia and Zack Godley, from the Cubs on Tuesday in exchange for catcher Miguel Montero.
Montero batted .243 in 136 games this past season, hitting 13 home runs and driving in 72 runs. The 31-year-old is owed $40 million over the next three years, and by moving him, it could provide the team with flexibility to add either another starting pitcher or another bat for the lineup.
Moving Montero leaves the D-backs with backup Tuffy Gosewisch, an excellent defender who hit .225 this past season. It is likely the team would pursue another catcher via a trade.
Last week, team president/CEO Derrick Hall said that the team's payroll was around $100 million, and that the organization would be more comfortable with it in the $90 million to $95 million range. The Montero deal appears to be a step in that direction.
Montero is the longest-tenured D-backs player, having signed out of Venezuela in 2001, and he has been active in the community and popular in the clubhouse.
I want to say thank you to the Diamondbacks for 14 years in the organization. I made a lot of great friends and I'm going to miss them all.
"We definitely have an appreciation for what he's done for the organization and his impact in the clubhouse," general manager Dave Stewart said when asked about the possibility of dealing Montero before news of the talks with the Cubs leaked. "But this is the game of baseball, and so we're going to look at all options when it comes to our team and do things that we feel are going to be in the best interests of the Diamondbacks."
Mejia, 20, was signed by the Cubs out of the Dominican Republic. He was ranked as the No. 17 prospect in the Cubs' system according to MLB.com.
The 6-foot-7 Mejia can hit 97 mph with his fastball, but it usually sits between 92-94 with quality life and a downhill plane.
Godley, 24, was selected by the Cubs in the 10th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. With Class A Daytona this past season, Godley was 3-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 29 relief appearances.
Scouting reports: Mejia: Part of the Cubs' aggressive international signing spree in 2013, Mejia signed for $850,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He would have been eligible to sign the year before, but MLB ruled him ineligible because of a discrepancy with his age. He made his pro debut this year in the Rookie-level Arizona League, going 2-4 with a 2.48 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 40 innings. Mejia is a long way away from the big leagues, but he has the pure stuff to pitch in the front half of a rotation. He already works at 92-94 mph and hits 97 with his fastball, using his 6-foot-7 frame to deliver it on a steep plane. His hard curveball and deceptive changeup lack consistency -- no surprise for a 20-year-old -- but both show promise.
Godley: A 10th-round senior sign out of Tennessee for $35,000 in 2013, Godley transitioned from starting in college to relieving in pro ball. His velocity has risen in shorter stints, as he now works at 91-95 mph with his fastball after dealing at 88-91 mph in the rotation. He also throws a low-80s slider and added a cutter late in the 2014 season, during which he went 4-3 with a 3.09 ERA, 15 saves and 77 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings between two Class A stops. The D-backs plan on trying to convert him back into a starter.