Motte to fill Cardinals closer role?

Jason Motte was a September call up in 2008 and pitched beautifully.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The news was just a small blip on the baseball news front, but the St.Louis Cardinals sent pitcher Chris Perez down to the minors yesterday, which would seem to indicate that Jason Motte will start the season as the Cardinals' closer for 2009.

That's good news because Manager Tony LaRussa has always been one to use his closers and over his 13-year career as the Cardinals' skipper has averaged 28.2 save per season from his primary closer.

Last year, Ryan Franklin led the team with just 17 saves and with veteran closer Jason Isringhausen gone for the first time in seven years the job was an open competition between Franklin, Perez and Motte.

Motte is the most inexperienced of the three choices, but has been flying up the St.Louis farm system since being converted from a catcher in 2006.

Motte was a September call up in 2008 and pitched beautifully. In 11 innings Motte struck out 16, walked just three and had a microscopic 0.82 ERA. He throws a 97-99 m.p.h. fastball, a hard slider and a decent curveball. At AAA Memphis, Motte was 4-3 with 110 Ks in 66 innings.

If you could get 28 saves and a strikeout-per-inning from Motte, given that he would be a very late draft pick, why would you spend a higher pick for similar stats? Because the situation only now seems to have become clear, it looks like a great value could be had here. Currently, he is only owned in 50% of all fantasy leagues.

Cardinals Closer Competition Statistics

Name W L IP ERA H ER BB SO
Jason Motte 0 0 10.1 1.74 7 2 1 15
Ryan Franklin 0 0 10.1 5.23 12 6 1 11
Chris Perez 0 0 4.0 3.86 4 3 4 7


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.