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Cubs, Diamondbacks discussing possible Miguel Montero trade

Chicago may be on the verge of solidifying their backstop situation.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs and Diamondbacks are currently engaged in trade discussions centering around catcher Miguel Montero, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX SportsPer Rosenthal, a "deal appears to be getting closer", and the two sides are expected to continue discussions tonight. Negotiations have reportedly been onging for weeks.

Our own Chris Cotillo spoke to Diamondbacks' general manager Dave Stewart, who would not confirm that a deal involving Montero was close and noted that he had not talked to the Cubs since Monday morning.

As Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan notes, Chicago will likely have to take on most or all of what remains on Montero's contract, which comes out to $40 million over the next three years. In return, Arizona is expected to receive low-level pitching prospects, and plenty of salary relief. Overall, Passan states that it "wouldn't be big" when classifying the Diamondbacks' potential return, and that makes sense considering Montero's lofty salary and disappointing past couple seasons.

The Cubs would likely pair Montero with incumbent Wellington Castillo to form a formidable platoon, as Montero has historically hit significantly better against right-handers, while the opposite is true for Castillo.

The 31-year-old Montero, a two-time All-Star, has been Arizona's primary backstop for the better part of the past six years, during which time he has emerged as one of the best offensive catchers in the game. From 2009 to 2012, Montero hit .283/.361/.457 with a 116 OPS+, while averaging 14 home runs and a 3.2 WAR. However, Montero has struggled with the bat over the past two years, combining to hit just .237/.324/.358 for a 89 OPS+ and 1.2 WAR, though he did make the All-Star team this past year thanks to a solid first half (.760 OPS in first half, .596 in second). He is generally regarded as a strong pitch framer.

It's unclear who the Diamondbacks would tab to replace Montero. Tuffy Gosewisch is currently listed as their backup catcher, and prospect Peter O'Brien is notably good offensively, but probably isn't a catcher in the long run.