AP source: Cubs, Motte agree to 1-year deal
CHICAGO (AP) Jason Motte is moving to the other side of one of baseball's best rivalries.
The veteran reliever is leaving St. Louis for a $4.5 million, one-year contract with the Chicago Cubs, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal. Motte made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2008 and had spent his entire career with the team that selected him in the 19th round of the 2003 draft.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Monday night on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the agreement. The contract is pending a physical and includes bonuses that could increase the value to $7 million.
WSCR-AM 670 was the first to report the agreement.
Motte was one of baseball's top closers in 2012, when he had 42 saves in 49 chances and helped St. Louis reach the NL championship series. But the right-hander had elbow-ligament replacement surgery in May 2013 and missed that whole season. He returned this year and went 1-0 with a 4.68 ERA in 29 games.
The deal with Motte gives Chicago another big arm for its bullpen and continues an impressive offseason for the Cubs.
They jumped on Joe Maddon when the respected manager opted out of his contract with Tampa Bay, and bolstered their rotation with free-agent deals for Jon Lester and Jason Hammel. All-Star catcher Miguel Montero came over in a trade with Arizona.
The Cubs went 73-89 last season and finished last in the NL Central after they lost 96 games in 2013. But the productive offseason and a handful of highly regarded prospects have produced a wave of optimism for fans of one of baseball's most forlorn franchises.
Chicago's bullpen had a respectable 3.61 ERA last season, good for 15th in the majors. Hector Rondon emerged as the closer with 29 saves and a 2.42 ERA, but it was his first year in the role and Motte gives Maddon another option should the righty falter.
AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.