Exit Interview: Jason Motte

The last couple of years, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season.  This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2014 offseason.  More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter.  Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.

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Player: Jason Motte

Season stats: 1-0, 4.68 ERA, 29 games, 25 IP, 29 H, 9 BB, 17 K, 1.520 WHIP, 80 ERA+

Hero/Goat: Goat 1

Overall grade: C

Positives: Made a return from Tommy John surgery and did so without any physical setbacks….dominated lefties, limiting them to a .211 BAA and a .733 OPS….got better results as the year went on, with a 3.38 ERA and a .241 BAA in the second half.

Negatives: Still never got his fastball to where it had been, running 94-95 with it instead of 97-98 pre-surgery….had command issues, including walking four in nine second-half outings….was left of the postseason roster, a tough blow for the guy that was on the mound the last time the Cards won it all.

Overview: We all love Jason Motte.  The homegrown guy that became a ninth-inning dominant force, the guy that opened his arms wide for a Yadier Molina pounce at the end of the 2011 World Series.  The guy that spent his year away from baseball due to injury developing a way to tackle cancer.  Jason Motte is a large part of the fabric of this team.

Unfortunately, the reality of baseball doesn’t get scripted.  While we all wanted Motte to return to the flamethrowing closer guy that he was, he just never made it to that level and, with his contract expiring and free agency looming, it’s going to be difficult to see him returning to the Redbirds.

Outlook: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Motte start getting back to his former levels in another year or so.  Two years after Tommy John is usually when folks really get back to normal and there were some positive signs down the stretch, though he didn’t get used a lot in the second half.  I could see the Cards coming to terms with him on a significantly reduced contract, but more likely another team is going to get to see how great this guy is in so many ways.

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