ST. LOUIS, Mo, January 22, 2013 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have agreed to terms with pitcher Jason Motte on a two-year contract for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, avoiding salary arbitration.
Motte, 30, tied for the National League lead with a career high 42 saves in 2012 and became the first Cardinal in franchise history to record every save during the season. The right-hander ranked 9th among N.L. relievers last season with a career high 86 strikeouts, 8th with a .191 opponent’s batting average and T11th in innings pitched (72.0). He also ranked second in the league with 58 games finished.
“We are excited to be able to have Jason under control for the next two years,” said team Sr. Vice President & General Manager, John Mozeliak. “We wanted to recognize what Jason has accomplished for the Cardinals and the role he has played in our bullpen. He exemplifies the type of player on and off the field we want in our organization, and we’re looking forward to having him part of the team for the next two seasons.”
Motte made his Major League debut with the Cardinals in 2008 and since that time has a 17-13 career record with 54 saves. His 54 saves rank 11th all-time among Cardinals relievers, and his 42 saves last season marked the 6th-highest total in a single season, becoming just the fourth Cardinal in franchise history to reach the 40-save plateau (Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith, Jason Isringhausen).
From MLBTradeRumors.com – The agreement buys out Motte’s two final years of arbitration, but won’t delay his path to free agency. He still projects to hit the open market following the 2014 season. Motte had filed for a $5.5MM salary for 2013 and the Cardinals had countered with $4.5MM, as MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker shows. The 30-year-old set himself up for a raise from his 2012 salary of $1.95MM by posting a 2.75 ERA with 10.8 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and an NL-best 42 saves this past season.
The deal is worth $12MM and includes performance bonuses, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
Motte’s signing leaves two arbitration eligible players left unsigned: third baseman David Freese and left handed pitcher Marc Rzepczynski.