December 19, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) Reliever Jason Motte and the Chicago Cubs have finalized a $4.5 million, one-year contract that allows the former St. Louis closer to earn $2.5 million more in performance bonuses.

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. The right-hander had elbow-ligament replacement surgery in May 2013 and missed the season. He returned last season and went 1-0 with a 4.68 ERA in 29 games.

Motte is eligible for up to $2.5 million of $3 million in available performance bonuses under Friday's deal, including $250,000 each for 60 and 65 games pitched. He would earn $250,000 for 50 games finished and each additional game finished through 59.

He 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 amateur draft.

The Cubs went 73-89 last season and finished last in the NL Central. Their bullpen had a respectable 3.61 ERA, 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 provides another option should the righty falter.

Also Friday, the Cubs claimed catcher Ryan Lavarnway off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers and outfielder Shane Peterson off waivers from the Oakland Athletics. To make room on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Donn Roach and infielder Logan Watkins were designated for assignment.

Lavarnway spent the last seven seasons in the Red Sox organization, including 97 games at the big league level. He is a career .201 major league hitter with five home runs and 34 RBIs. Peterson batted .308 with 40 doubles, 11 homers and 90 RBIs with Triple-A Sacramento last season. He was originally selected by St. Louis in the 2008 draft and acquired by Oakland as part of the trade that sent Matt Holliday to the Cardinals.

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