Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
RHP Jason Motte (33)
2015: 48.1 IP, 3.91 ERA, 6.3 K/9
Motte is one of the league’s more beloved relief pitchers, and at times, his performance has matched the personality. After breaking in with the Cardinals fairly late, seeing his first full season at age 27, Motte posted a 2.24 ERA over 120.1 innings in 2010 and 2011 to earn the closer’s role for the Cards in 2012.
He’d run with it, too, recording 42 saves that year with a 2.75 ERA and career-best WHIP of 0.917. He also experienced his peak velocity that season, averaging nearly 97 MPH with his fastball and almost never straying from his hard pitches. Then, Tommy John.
The surgery would keep Motte out for the entirety of 2013 before he re-joined the club midway through 2014, where he’d struggle through 25.0 innings while working to re-establish his velocity. A one-year deal worth $4.5 million landed him with the Chicago Cubs this past season where he posted a 3.91 ERA and saw his velocity begin to climb back in the right direction, but his K/9 sat at a worrying 6.3 (10.8 in 2012).
So the concerns persist with Motte as well, though he could come in just slightly more affordable than Broxton in this market. Not only would the Blue Jays be battling his elbow, though, they’d be battling age. Unless they believe he can recapture his velocity or develop a secondary arsenal (which he hadn’t needed earlier in his career), Motte’s success would be an uphill battle.
Next: We continue with your annual look at the once-great Canadian Closer