April 5: The Rockies announced today that they’ve released Motte. He’s free to sign with any club and would only cost his new team the pro-rated portion of the league minimum for any time spent in the Majors, with Colorado remaining on the hook for the rest of his salary.
March 31: The Rockies have designated veteran reliever Jason Motte for assignment, the club announced. Colorado has selected the contract of infieler/outfielder Stephen Cardullo, who’ll take the open 40-man spot.
As the club fills out its roster, it evidently decided to go with Cardullo on the bench over Pat Valaika, who was optioned, and veteran minor-league signee Chris Denorfia, who was reassigned to minor-league camp. Cardullo will presumably help to fill in while Ian Desmond is sidelined.
Motte, 34, simply hasn’t performed as the team hoped when it promised him $10MM over two years over the 2015-16 offseason. The former closer missed time early with rotator cuff issues and ended the first year of that contract with a 4.94 ERA and 9.1 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9 over 23 2/3 frames.
While Motte still manage to average a healthy 94 mph with his fastball in 2016, that fell below his typical levels. And things didn’t improve this spring, as he allowed eight earned runs on 14 hits over 8 2/3 innings, recording just five strikeouts against two walks along the way.