For some reason it seems that former St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte's decision to sign with the Chicago Cubs has outraged part of the social media universe.
Motte, a converted catcher who has been in the big leagues with the Redbirds since 2008, is best know for helping St. Louis to its 2011 World Series win over the Texas Rangers. But, as sad as it is to see a local hero move on, the story about Motte the last two years has been centered on his elbow and the problems with it that caused him to suffer a dramatic loss in velocity.
It has been obvious for months, if not longer, that the Cardinals weren't going to re-sign Motte. Prior to the 2013 season St. Louis signed Motte to a two-year contract that seemed to seek to give time to Trevor Rosenthal time to develop as Motte's eventual replacement. But that deal turned out to be a disaster with Motte tearing a ligament in his elbow at the end of 2013 spring training. He missed the entire 2013 campaign while recovering. Then he struggled to regain his fastball and was ineffective in 2014 with a 4.68 ERA in only 25 innings pitched.
A guy who once threw 97-98 mph to dominate hitters suddenly throws 93-94 mph.
While it is possible that Motte could regain some of the velocity he lost with another year of strengthening, it's no guarantee. He'll be 33 next season and it would be natural if his fastball would start to fade due to natural causes. That's a problem for a guy who counts on his fastball to earn his bread and butter. According to a CBS report, Motte threw his four-seam fastball for 60 percent of his pitches and a cut fastball for 20 percent of them.
In the meantime, Rosenthal has taken over the closer role and the Cardinals have found steadier alternatives for the set-up role in the bullpen. So it was obvious Motte had to go someplace.
So what difference does it make to those who are upset about Motte's new contract? It's a one year deal for about half of what he got last year. So he obviously didn't have a lot of options.
By all accounts, Motte is one of the nicest guys in MLB. He has done tons for charity in St. Louis and beyond. So give the guy a break.
This isn't Albert Pujols, who could have written his ticket to play anywhere in the world. This is a guy who is just looking for a job as he tries to rebuild his career after a major injury. And, all things being equal, it seems he would have preferred to stay in St. Louis if that was an option.