|St. Louis Cardinals – No. 30|
June 22, 1982 |
Port Huron, Michigan
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|September 3, 2008 for the St. Louis Cardinals|
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||2.87|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jason Louis Motte (born June 22, 1982) is a Major League Baseball (MLB) relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, playing his entire MLB career for them since 2008. He was the 2012 National League (NL) saves leader with 42 and played a key role in the Cardinals' 2011 World Series championship run, saving five postseason games. Motte is currently rehabilitating his right elbow following surgery to repair an ulnar collateral ligament injury that kept him from playing all of 2013. For his career, Motte has 54 saves and a 2.87 earned run average (ERA) in 282 games and 260 innings pitched.
The Cardinals selected Motte in the 19th round of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft. Originally a catcher in the minor leagues, he struggled to hit as he entered the 2006 season with a .188 career average. However, he recorded 160 assists in 181 games as a catcher. On June 29, 2005, Motte went on the disabled list for a thumb fracture while playing for the High-A Palm Beach Cardinals. Spurred by the thumb injury and dropping batting average, Motte converted to pitching. He soared in his new role in the minor leagues and was added to the Cardinals 40-man roster in early December 2007 to avoid the Rule 5 draft as one of the Cardinals' top pitching prospects.
Motte spent the majority of the 2008 season with the Memphis Redbirds, the St. Louis Cardinals' Triple-A farm team from the Pacific Coast League. His abilities as strikeout pitcher became most evident: in 66 2⁄3 innings, Motte struck out 110, a rate of 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
He was called up from the minors on September 2, 2008.
St. Louis Cardinals (2008–present)
Motte recorded a total of 12 appearances in 2008 with an ERA of 0.82 in the big leagues. In 11 innings of relief, Motte struck out 16 batters, allowing three walks and five hits. He earned his first save on September 18 against Cincinnati in their ballpark, getting the final out in the ninth inning with a fly ball to left field.
During the 2009 spring training camp, Motte competed with Ryan Franklin and Chris Perez in an attempt to earn the role as the Cardinals' 2009 closer; manager Tony LaRussa later said he would not establish a closer. Instead, he would use a mix of relievers in the ninth inning. Motte was called on to save the first game. However, he gave up four runs to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ninth inning. Pittsburgh won 6–4. After this blown save opportunity, La Russa moved Motte into a middle reliever role. Despite the blown the save on opening day and occasional rough outings that contributed to a 4.59 ERA, Motte recorded 14 holds. Motte became the Cardinals de facto closer late in the 2011 season – La Russa still had not named him as the closer – helping his team win the Wild Card. Motte pitched in two games against the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2011 National League Division Series (NLDS), in which the Cardinals won the series 3 games to 2. Motte also pitched in three games in the 2011 National League Championship Series (NLCS) against St. Louis' division rival, the MIlwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals won this series in six games. Motte was on the mound for the final out of the NLCS winning the Cardinals their 18th pennant. He was also on the mound when the Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers in the World Series.
He won the NL Player of the Week Award for the first time for his week of September 17–23, after picking up his fifth consecutive save out of five opportunities and league-leading 40th.  Motte finished the season with a National League leading 42 saves, one of only four pitchers in Cardinals history to reach the 40 or more saves.
On January 22, 2013, the St. Louis Cardinals announced they had reached a two-year contract with Motte, the financial details of which were not disclosed. The deal effectively bought out the final two years of Motte's arbitration eligibility. At the end of the contract he will be a free agent. Motte earned $1.95 million in 2012 and had filed for a salary of $5.5 million for 2013. The Cardinals counter offer was reported as $4.5 million. On March 29, 2013, Motte was put on the disabled list with a strained elbow. He and the team physician at first hoped that non-surgical rehab treatment could allow him to still pitch at some point in 2013. However, seeing little if any improvement, the Cardinals placed Motte on injured reserve on May 3, 2013 and announced that he would not pitch this season, and undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament in his elbow.
Motte's primary pitch is a four-seam fastball, which was clocked in the upper 90s during 2008. In 2012, it was clocked at 98 miles per hour (MPH). He also threw a cut fastball that reached 93 MPH and a sinking fastball that reached 96 MPH, and, rarely, an 85-MPH changeup. His cutter has shown among the widest variance of movement of all his pitches, to being anywhere from flat vertically to moving up to eight inches. He also regularly threw a curveball through the 2010 season, but has discontinued it since last throwing it in 2011.
Motte is married to Caitlin. The couple run two foundations, the Jason Motte Foundation, and a cancer awareness foundation called "Strikeout Childhood Cancer." While Motte was recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2013, from his grandfather who was dying of cancer to unexpected encounters fans of the Cardinals stricken with cancer, he encountered numerous people –– mainly children –– with the malady and was moved to visit and encourage them. As a result, Motte and the Cardinals organized a pediatric cancer awareness day on September 23, 2013 that set aside 5,000 game tickets at the pavilion that cost $10.00 each, with $3.00 per ticket going to the Jason Motte Foundation. An additional 1,000 tickets were donated to pediatric cancer patients just released from the hospital. For those unable to go to Busch Stadium, Motte organized a group of several of his teammates to see the children in person.
- Leach, Matthew (February 25, 2008). "St. Louis Cardinals news article on the status of Motte". stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
- "Jason Motte profile". stlcardinals.scout.com. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- "Jason Motte Minor League statistics & history". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- Leach, Matthew (September 18, 2008). "Cards paint the town Red in finale: Motte mops up first big league save; Pujols drills big blast". MLB.com. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
- Meisel, Zack (September 24, 2012). "Motte named NL Player of the Week for first time". stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- Langosch, Jenifer (January 22, 2013). "Motte, Cardinals reach two year agreement". MLB.com via St. Louis Cardinals official team website. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
- "Cardinals' Motte to undergo Tommy John surgery". Fox Sports Midwest.com. May 3, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
- "Player card: Jason Motte". brooksbaseball.net. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- "Player card: Jason Motte's pitch types, velo and movement". brooksbaseball.net. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- Goold, Derrick (September 22, 2013). "Motte is on a mission". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "After one of the many hospital visits Cardinals closer Jason Motte made this summer to see a young friend battling cancer, his wife noticed how little he talked as he strapped their baby daughter into her car seat, how he hesitated when starting the car, how he moved with a different gravity, like he was carrying something new. A purpose can be heavy. 'When something is weighing on Jason, something inside, he doesn’t say too much,' said Caitlin Motte. ... 'It was like something changed in Jason.'"
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Motte player profile page at Scout.com
- Jason Motte Foundation