The Braves have called up veteran right-handed reliever Jason Motte to join the team against the Mets. He will take the roster spot of catcher Anthony Recker, who was optioned to AAA Gwinnett. This gives the Braves, the team with the second fewest bullpen innings in the majors so far this season, an 8-man bullpen and a four-man bench. One of those bench spots is occupied by second baseman Brandon Phillips, who is day-to-day with a groin strain. The other three spots are filled by recent call-up Lane Adams, the back-up catcher, and by a empty hole outfielder Emilio Bonifacio.
Jason Motte, RHP
30 G, 0 GS
(MLB stats only)
Jason Motte is an 8-year major league veteran, mostly known for his work as the closer for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012, the team that defeated the Braves in the infamous “Outfield Fly Rule” wild card play-in game.
But hey, we won’t hold that against him. It’s not like we remember that game much at all around here.
The following spring, Motte suffered a tear to his UCL that would require Tommy John surgery, and he missed the entirety of the 2013 season. When he came back he didn’t show nearly the same effectiveness, and he signed a one-year free agent contract with the Cubs for 2015. Despite poor peripheral numbers, and perhaps blinded by a fluky 8-1 record with the Cubs, the Rockies signed him to a 2-year, $10 million contract. Motte started the season with AAA Albuquerque, but spent most of the season in Colorado, where he was not very effective. Motte was a late cut by the Rockies in spring training, and the Braves signed him to a minor league contract on April 9.
For Gwinnett, Motte has not been scored upon in 5.1 innings, striking out 6 batters, walking 1, and allowing 2 hits.
Motte is a groundball/strikeout pitcher. When he’s most effective, he uses a cut fastball to generate both swing-and-misses and weak grounders. His four-seam fastball, an occasionally devastating pitch before the surgery, has lost both zip and movement and is now used mostly to set up the cutter. Motte also has a change-up that he sometimes uses against left-handed hitters, be he had yet to employ that pitch in his limited time for Gwinnett in 2017.
Motte gets into trouble when he can’t command the cutter, leaving it over the plate to be hit hard.
Another respected veteran reclamation project, Motte will be given the opportunity to re-establish his value with Atlanta. These types of projects have tended to go well with Atlanta the last several years. Hopefully Motte will pitch well, provide solid relief for the club, and the team will be able to flip him at some point this season for a more long-term asset.