This season didn’t go like most seasons. The Cardinals were terrible. I stopped writing here very much, with nothing after the blog anniversary. However, some things must go on and that includes the Exit Interview series! Now in its 12th year, it’s our look back at each player that made an appearance in a game for the St. Louis Cardinals. We’re approaching it a little different this season, a little more literary and a little less statistical, but hopefully you enjoy it just the same. As always, I am grateful that cardinalsgifs has agreed to use his talent for the header image!
Player: Taylor Motter
Stats: 29 G, 82 PA, 3 R, 3 2B, 2 RBI, .171/.232/.211, -0.6 bWAR
Statcast: 8.9% barrel, 37.8% sweet spot, 114.8 max exit velocity, .204 wOBA, .233 xwOBA, 37.8% K, 6.1% BB
When I was in middle school choir, we once did a song called “The Cat Came Back”, which apparently is an actual song floating around out there. Back then, I just assumed it was one that was written for groups to sing. Anyway, the basic premise of the song is that this guy continues to try to get rid of a cat, but no matter what he does, the cat returns. One man he gives the cat to dies in a car wreck, which is a little distressing for a song seventh graders are singing, and yet the cat came back.
Seems appropriate for the Taylor Motter writeup.
Motter had a very strong spring and, coupled with the injury to Paul DeJong, wound up being added to the 40-man and got to experience a St. Louis Opening Day as a member of the roster. The reasonably strong spring (.759 OPS, 10 walks, 3 homers) didn’t translate into anything resembling that at the major league level and when DeJong was ready to return in late April, Motter was designated for assignment and that appeared to be all she wrote.
Then, just three days later as Motter cleared waivers, the club decided to demote Jordan Walker to Memphis. Instead of bringing up someone like Juan Yepez (who, in fairness, may not have been eligible for return from his own demotion), the club bizarrely re-added Motter to the 40-man and promoted him. In the midst of one of the worst starts in Cardinal history, the club had replaced Walker with Motter. It was that kind of month.
Even more remarkably, Motter only got into one game after his promotion, an early May game where he played the last four innings. Two days later, when Adam Wainwright needed to be activated from the injured list, Motter was again designated for assignment. Unsurprisingly, he cleared waivers and went to Memphis, where he hit .255 with eight home runs. It wasn’t surprising that he wound up filling out the roster in Memphis. What was surprising was that we hadn’t seen the last of him.
After about two weeks of Jose Fermin, the club couldn’t resist the siren call any longer. There was still a free spot on the 40-man from Genesis Cabrera‘s sudden DFA, so Motter slipped into that comfy last spot and swapped spots with Fermin. Given the shape of this season, with the white flags in full bloom around Busch Stadium, Motter got some regular play as 75% of his plate appearances came in this final stint. You will not be surprised to learn that it didn’t go well (.161/.217/.179) and finally, when JoJo Romero went on the injured list in early September, the Cardinals pulled the plug again, designating Motter for assignment for the third time. The club didn’t even make him go back to Memphis, transferring him to the “Development List” mainly so he could just work out without having to go back on the roster.
I can’t find whether three times is a record for being DFA by the same time in the same season but it surely has to be, right? Just another weird footnote to a forgettable season.
What’s in store for 2024: If Taylor Motter shows up in Jupiter (and not as part of the Marlins), we’ve obviously fallen into some horror movie universe where the villain can never truly be disposed of. More likely, Motter latches on as minor league depth in some other organization.