Long-time MLB hurler Jason Motte has joined the staff of the University of Memphis baseball team, per an announcement. In his new gig, he’ll serve as the director of player development.
While there has been no formal acknowledgement, it seems reasonable to presume that this represents the end of Motte’s playing career. He had spent time in camp this year with the Cardinals but did not join an organization after being released in late March.
Motte, 35, turned himself from a minor-league catcher into a big-league closer. He ended up throwing 397 2/3 MLB frames over nine seasons, working to a 3.30 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 along the way.
The bulk of Motte’s success came with the Cardinals. He was a standout reliever from 2010 through 2012, over which time he maintained a 2.43 ERA through 192 1/3 innings. Motte capped off that run with a 42-save campaign. He also was a key postseason contributor, throwing 21 2/3 total innings of 2.08 ERA ball in October for St. Louis.
Tommy John surgery eliminated Motte’s 2013 season and he really was never the same upon his return. After operating at over 97 mph with his average fastball in the years preceding the TJ procedure, Motte never averaged more than 95.8 after rehabbing. That number trailed off further over the years, which mattered quite a bit for a pitcher who relied almost exclusively on hard-thrown balls. His swinging-strike rate, which had been over 12% before going under the knife, more or less fell off a cliff.
Motte still battled through four more seasons in the majors, turning in some productive innings along the way. He was a solid arm for the Cubs in 2015, earning himself a two-year deal with the Rockies. While things didn’t work out in Colorado, Motte gave the Braves 40 2/3 innings of 3.54 ERA ball last year, overcoming peripheral numbers that suggested much worse results.
MLBTR congratulates Motte on his playing career and wishes him the best of luck in his new endeavors — including his ongoing efforts to strike out cancer with The Jason Motte Foundation.