The St. Louis Cardinals are expected to activate former closer Jason Motte from the disabled list Tuesday after an absence of more than a year thanks to a torn elbow ligament.
The move comes in the aftermath of current closer Trevor Rosenthal's second blown save of the season. Rosenthal, who has struggled with an earned run average near 5.00 throughout the 2014 campaign, was attempting to close his fourth game in a row.
The Cardinals named Rosenthal the closer late last season after Edward Mujica began to struggle. Rosenthal impressed so much that manager Mike Matheny publicly proclaimed he would keep the job even after Motte returned. But it seems that Motte, who was very sharp and throwing with excellent velocity in his rehab appearances, could at least offer an alternative closer option to Matheny on days when Rosenthal needs rest.
I believe the Cardinals were inspired to make Rosenthal the new closer because Motte will be a free agent at the end of the season and Rosenthal would be a cheaper alternative. However, Rosenthal has maintained that he wants to be a starting pitcher. So, ironically, it might be in his best interests if Motte takes his current job away. Then maybe the Redbirds would be inspired to ink Motte to an extension and move Rosenthal into the rotation.
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That might be a messy move, however. Unless there is a trade or two, the Cardinals already have Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia, Joe Kelly and Tyler Lyons under control for next season. Carlos Martinez has also been a starting pitcher in the past and is a candidate for the starting rotation.
Regardless of how things work themselves out, the Cardinals can sure use a fresh bullpen arm.