Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Arizona Diamondbacks: Did They Miss on Miguel Montero?

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The Arizona Diamondbacks don't have the luxury of throwing around large contracts like the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers do.

They have to be careful and do their due diligence before handing out contracts, and they have done a fairly good job of that in the past.

However, it's quickly looking like the six-year, $65.9 million extension handed out to Montero was a major misstep that could cost the Diamondbacks dearly.

A LOOK BACK

When the Diamondbacks awarded Montero his extension, it seemed to be a bit risky toward the end of the contract, but, ultimately, it looked reasonable. Paying $10-12 million annually for a catcher that has a significant positive influence in the clubhouse that just happens to be one of the best defensive catchers in the league isn't a terrible thing.

Miggy signed his extension back on May 26, 2012. He finished the 2012 season with an average of .286 to go along with 15 home runs and 88 runs batted in. His .391 on-base percentage was terrific for a catcher and was something that highlighted his growing patience at the plate.

Defensively, Montero was right on the league average in fielding percentage, with a .992 average for the season. He threw out 42 percent of potential base-stealers, which trumped his league-leading 40 percent from 2011.

So where's that guy?

WHAT HAPPENED?

The 2013 season has been a cold, cruel slap in the face for Montero. His offensive production has significantly plummeted in all areas. As of September 17, 2013, he's hitting .242 with an on-base percentage of just .323 and a horrid slugging percentage of .365.

Not only has Montero failed to get himself on base, but he's also failing in the very key area of driving in runs. After driving in 86 and 88 runs in 2011 and 2012, Montero may not break 50 this season (currently at 41).

Defensively, he's played well enough to have a .994 fielding percentage, but opposing runners have closed the gap. Whether it's slow deliveries from the pitcher or a weaker arm, Montero is throwing out just 30 percent of runners, barely better than the 29-percent league average.

SO WHAT NOW?

The Diamondbacks are in a tough spot. They're chided when they let superstars leave because they're too expensive, and then they're blasted for giving out too much money to a risky player who is on the wrong side of 30.

Montero is having a solid but unspectacular September, hitting .302 with two home runs and six runs batted in.

His earlier struggles could have been fatigue from the World Baseball Classic in the offseason that bled into this year. There's no rest during a grueling 162-game schedule, but you can bet the Diamondbacks will tell Miggy to take it easy this offseason and will be watching him closely next year.

Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who covers the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona Cardinals for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the NBA site HoopsHabit.com.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football