Cubs Sign Motte

The Cubs have signed reliever Jason Motte to a one-year deal for $4.5M with a games finished incentive. Motte hasn't pitched a full season since 2012, but did have a helluva nice run out of the Cardinals bullpen from 2010-2012, including being their closer in 2012 where he knocked out 42 saves with a 2.75 ERA thanks to a 10.1 K/9 rate, 2.1 BB/9 rate and 0.917 WHIP that season.. He underwent Tommy John surgery in May of 2013 and returned briefly in 2014, before going back on the disabled list with a back issue in August that ended his season.  Motte will turn 33 in June of next season.

While we all like the young Cubs bullpen that is built, it doesn't take much for them to go from good to bad or injuries to hit, so adding some depth shouldn't be a problem and Joe Maddon is keen on mixing and matching until someone earns their roles. We'll see if he's back from his pre-surgery days though, as his average fastball velocity on fangraphs was just 93.9 mph in 2014 versus the 96 area in 2010-2012.

BONUS ROSTER MOVE: The Cubs send INF Marco Hernandez to the Boston Red Sox as the player to be named later that brought the Cubs Felix Doubront. Hernandez did get a bit of Rule 5 buzz, although ultimately not selected. The Cubs still await a player from the A's to complete the Samardzija deal.


i'm not worried about his velocity as much as him wanting to throw cutter after cutter after cutter. hopefully he was just crutching on that to compensate for arm soreness last year and he's sorted out this fb/cutter mix for 2015. 4.5m is a hell of a starting point for a guy who's going to throw 50-70ip and hasn't thrown well in a couple years while dealing with injuries.

I'm sure a lot of teams saw him as a high-ceiling bullpen solution, and Ephoy threw in some extra loot they were sitting on to finish it. Fuck it. We're contenders now, remember?

yeah, totally...i just saw a LH option coming into the pen rather than an expensive dice roll righty. plus, i really didn't like what motte did last year. dude was giving up scary foul bombs along with the ones that went over the fence. i wonder if he worked out for teams/cubs before-hand...

not Cub related but kinda cool, 23 yr old synovial sarcoma cancer patient gets some Phillie Swag on daytime TV, video on the web link

Jason Motte got almost exactly what the Cubs would have paid Kyuji Fujikawa if they had picked up Fujikawa's $5M option for 2015. 

up to $2.5M in incentives for Motte per Levine

The Cubs have 20 days to file Jason Motte's contract with the MLB office, and the Cubs do not have to add Motte to their MLB 40-man roster until the contract is filed. Therefore the Cubs do not have to make a 40-man roster move to accomodate Motte until January 5th (they will probably DFA Donn Roach and then try to get him through Outright Assignment Waivers), although of course they could make the move anytime prior to 1/5.  

Also Motte (and Jon Lester and Jason Hammel, too) have automatric "no trade" rights through June 15th. The player can waive this right, but if he does he can be traded only for player contracts and/or cash with a maximum aggregate value of $50,000. Although he had post-2014 Article XX-B player status (as do all ex-NPB players not subject to ISBP restrictions), Tsuyoshi Wada does not receive the automatic "no trade" right that the other three get because Wada re-signed with the Cubs prior to midnight on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series.  

A. Rios to Royals for 1/11M.


"Yeah, I think so,'' said Lester when asked if the trade made it easier for him to leave Boston for good. "I think there's always that unknown when you're traded, going to a whole different coast, a whole different organization, a whole different philosophy. I think going [to Oakland] prepared us for this time.

"I think if we finish out the year in Boston and you get down to this decision, I think it would be a lot harder. That's not to say it wasn't hard as it was, but I feel like that broke that barrier of 'I wonder if I could play for another team.' And I think we answered those questions.'

if it wasn't for this place being closed the cubs would have probably lost lester to the yankees...

What do Theo and Jed know about football?

/asking for a friend

Halftime QB rating... Brees: 147.1, Cutler 15.3

video interview with Jon Lester gets asked why #34? Says it's because of Kerry Wood, Walter Payton and Nolan Ryan

He also said he always liked that number. So why didn't he wear it in Boston? David Ortiz grabbed it off the rack in 2003.

Nightengale column on the Lester press conference. Theo scented with deer urine? Moises would approve.

2014 Bears What do we think, men? Any answers to the following - Will the Bears "clean house" and just start over? Tucker is gone, right? What about Brandon Marshall? Trade him for a pick to a draft shot at a QB? Like they could have had this year - by franchising this guy. George McCasky - shriveled balls - or big ones? Big enough to dump the GM and everyone else? Give me Bill Cowers at this point...or Harbaugh. I don't fucking care. What a complete, and total, fucking mess! So nice that Bruce Ariens, who was not a "good fit" for this team, will be spared the bullshit that the Ma and Pa organization is...

Bears with zero points through 3 quarters, at home, against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. For me, the Kromer thing is the last straw -- I cannot root for this team anymore. The OC goes behind the head coach's back and calls out the QB to the national media -- and there are no repercussions? Trestman simply does not have the balls to be an NFL coach - the players know it, other teams know it, and his assistant coaches know it. On every national TV game, the announcers call out the Bears as being unprepared and uncompetitive -- Gruden called them "amateurs" for having repeated false start penalties by WRs. They can't run, pass, defend or kick. Not much to build on.

I realize Harbaugh has had a bad year, and that he is a bit of a rage machine, but he is probably about what this remarkably undisciplined team needs right now. He is good at building teams out of thin air, and the niners had some decent players when he took over but were a mess, like the Bears are. Harbaugh will probably stay on the West Coast, tho. McCaskey has taken a lot of heat (get new owners! is the cry) but he has at least showed interest in trying to build a winner, as opposed to Michael, who let the team rot. So I'm hoping he swallows hard and blows everything up, including getting rid of Emery. I don't see how it's possible to retain Trestman at this point. The head coach is responsible for the rest of the coaching staff. He's gotta pick good guys, and he needs to have league-wide respect to get those good guys. This crew is the worst bunch of coaches I've ever seen on a Bears team, and that includes staffs under such luminaries as Vince Dooley and Abe Gibron. You'll hear a lot of people say things like how Trestman' offense is a high powered offense, at least in theory, but X's and O's don't score points, and they don't fix a team-wide lack of passion and discipline. I refused to watch last night's game, but the QB rating and score tells me all I need to know. The head coach has to oversee how many other coaches? And hire them. 16 maybe? Of the ones we hear a lot about, one has a decent offensive mind, Kromer, but has some kind of weird personality trait where instead of telling his bosses that his QB sucks he goes to some reporter and then cries about it afterwards, the defensive coach is a laughing stock, and the special teams coach can't count, among other obvious deficiencies. So would I like a Trestman offense? Yeah, last year I was pretty excited. This year Trestman's shortcomings took over the offense, and the rest of the team. You can't have a head coach who can't bring in other good coaches, and Trestman's respect around the league must be at about zero right now. He has no control over any aspect of this team. It's all blown up in his face. Worst of all, he doesn't show any emotion at all when they're getting clobbered. I don't expect to see massive rage but come on, at least roll your eyes once in awhile. I like Marshall, and I like his story, and I'd not want to see him go away for nothing. But whatever the new coaching staff decides is what matters most, since they'll be the ones working with the guy - maybe his "story" - the negative part, isn't over, and he''s a bad influence on the team. I really have no idea. If, at a minimum, Trestman and his entire staff aren't gone by Black Monday, I'll be apoplectic. I'd prefer to see Emery gone, too, but I suppose he'll get one more draft if he fires the coaching staff when he wakes up on Black Monday.

Boy, it's gonna be a fun week of practice for the Bears.

Harbaugh has s dysfunctional program in SF, not sure how replacing one dysfunctional program with another. Once again, won't matter until McCaskeys are gone.

They need a Cub's-style rebuild.

The Cubs received cash considerations to complete the July 5 trade with the A’s.

So much for it being a significant piece


I honestly almost commented about how the A's got so fleeced in that deal that it would be hard to go back to Billy Beane and remind him about that other player he owes us. I wonder if it had an influence on the fact we only got $$ ... that the deal blew chunks for them and the A's went nowhere?

They said in the beginning that it would not be a significant piece.

my bad if I read it wrong, thought there was something that it would be a significant player...obviously not the case though.

Well, there was lots of discussion around the time of what it would be.  Some reporters said it would be significant, so you didn't hear that wrong.  Some said there was a list that the Cubs  were picking from and they were just evaluating them more.  Others said they had someone in mind but wanted to wait until after the Rule 5.  Etc. And Hoyer said publicly that the player "wouldn't change the balance of the deal" - but that's vague and pretty obvious given the other parts of the deal already.  So I think most assumed it would be a player and maybe somebody we at least heard of (remember Neil Ramirez was the PTBNL in the Garza deal), but I suppose all along "cash" was a possibilty in lieu of a player.  Perhaps they could never agree, or perhaps the guys they were following didn't perform well over the season and they didn't want any of them in the end.  Or perhaps it was tacitly agreed that the return of this piece would be based in part on the outcome of the trade, and that this might be a gentleman's way of saying "we already came out ahead on this one and I want to keep you as a potential trade partner."  I don't know. Was hoping for another minor piece just to throw into the system, but it is what it is.

Kaplan on twitter: "Ray Lewis (Trent Dilfer) and Steve Young are annihilating Jay Cutler" postgame analysis on ESPN..."there is nothing (about Cutler) that speaks leadership" (Lewis) "Who gave Cutler all the money. Look at him." (Lewis) --- and Rosenbloom (does his typical thing, he) piles on...

Cutler for Orton really seemed like a good idea at the time. Extending him didn't.

It was Orton and three draft picks, including two first rounders, for Cutler. Two of those picks for sure and probably all three (at least under anybody's draft acumen but Angelo's) would be starters in their prime today. I notice that the Bears also gave away 2nd round picks in 2009 and '10, so that's two more starters in their prime. This is the hole in the middle of this team. The Redskins are in similar shape to the Bears today, not just because their quarterback is a bust but because of those high picks they used to get him.

The tale of two Romos: Romo and Cutler. Romo has always been pretty inconsistent, too - if I bothered to look at stats I'd probably find he's been better than Cutler tho. This year he's been really, really good. I think you'll see Cutler back next year, with his, what? 100th offensive coordinator?

Romo has always been much,much better that Cutler. Romo' 236 to 109 TD/INT ratio is better, and his average qb rating is 97.1, which is better than Cutler's best season.

Interesting that statistics, at times, have also been used to defend/promote the acquisition of Jay Cutler. This should serve as a cautionary tale about how stats can mislead- Hard numbers, too, can feed confirmation bias.

Interesting note on Motte from the STL article in the sidebar:

"Although sidelined by the elbow injury, Motte remained active around the ballpark and championed more awareness for pediatric cancer treatment and research around the Cardinals and throughout baseball. He organized with the help of the union a day this past season where every player in Major League Baseball wore "Strikeout Cancer" (K cancer) t-shirts to the ballpark and during workouts to raise money for charities focused on pediatric cancer."

They are going to win a World Series AND cure cancer!

But "lovable winners" isn't alliterative.

But "wuvable winners" is.

I'm all for a journeyman for the back end of the bullpen, but I hope he isn't another Jose Veras.

M. Morse on a 2-year deal to Marlins

C. Capuano on 1-year deal to Yankees

M. Joyce traded to Angels for RP K. Jepsen

B. Penny on minor league deal to White Sox.

B. Wilson DFA'd

D. Descalso on 2-year deal to Rockies.

M. Scherzer and J. Shields in witness protection program.

j.lowrie 3/23 to HOU...nice deal...too bad they're going to play him at SS rather than 2nd with occasional SS work. the glove and footwork are willing, but the arm is weak.

maybe Trestman was just trolling last night and realizes the draft pick means more now :)

if you look at the game logs, that was just the 2nd bad Cutler game all season and the first was really just a bad 2nd half vs Packers which didn't fucking matter when they gave up 55 pts anyway.

No one is arguing that he's elite anymore, the question is can Bears do better? QB's are not an easy thing to find if you're not the Packers.

Regardless, they're in the 7-9 draft pick slot now, losing is for the better.

I thought Trestman would survive until next season, but they do look woefully unprepared week to week and clearly he can't match up with the bright coaches. They certainly should explore if they can trade Cutler and not take the cap hit, but I doubt it. I'd look to trade Marshall too and try to get a 3rd round pick back as well. Teams a mess at this point , but especially defensively.

I think they could still get it done on offense, but I couldn't think of one defensive player worth keeping, and obviously you'd have to overhaul the entire scheme.

To fire all the coach's and cut Cutler would cost $35 million. Virginia McCaskey still makes her boys lunches in brown paper bags.

Maybe the stats say it was only Jay's 2nd bad game, but terrible late Q4 decisions resulted in picks that cost games against the Bills and Panthers, back when there was still hope for the season. He leads the NFL in interceptions.

sure, the turnovers are a huge problem...and again, happy if they go in another direction, but that could mean Geno Smith quality as well. There's usually about 10 good QB's in a league at any given time, 10 okay ones which is where Cutler falls imo and then 10 terribles ones. Getting an okay one is a 50/50 shot at best, getting a good one is pretty unlikely.

I'll never find it now, but believe Cutler had one of the best 4th quarter ratings the last few seasons before this year's mess.

Here's Cutler's ranking by Football Outsiders the last few years in reverse order since 2014 (going backwards):

2014: 14th, 18th (McCown was 13th), 28th, 21st, 30th, 36th// Broncos years 4th, 8th

clearly the scheme makes a big difference, but yeah, very middle of the pack to not good. No doubt overpaid and no worries if they move past him.

Stats are more difficult to make a case for anything in football than they are in baseball unless the stats are just stupid good. The stats don't show that Cutler can't make second and third reads, for example. He just can't. If his primary isn't open, he either throws it to the other team or airmails it for a jump ball. But to be fair to Cutler, this offense is such a mess of bad routes and missed assignments that maybe he just can't tell what the hell is going on. Next year, Trestman will be gone and it'll be the last shot for Jay Cutler. I doubt Cutler will be gone, too. Too much money sunk, and quarterbacks, like you say, are damn hard to find. NFL quarterbacking is still all about staying in the pocket and finding that second and third guy, quickly. This offense is such a mess that it almost isn't fair to say Cutler can't do that. I saw him do it some, so I know he can, but this year he hasn't been more than he has. Next year will be his 10th year I think, of, can he reach his potential, so something is wrong here. But he isn't going anywhere I don't think, unless they replace Emery, too, and the new guy completely cleans house.

Stats are more difficult to make a case for anything in football than they are in baseball unless the stats are just stupid good. The stats don't show that Cutler can't make second and third reads, for example.

agree to disagree I suppose, don't think that's been a criticism of Cutler's at all. Forte doesn't rack up those kind of numbers as the primary option with Marshall and Jeffery and Bennett. Those INT's are him throwing off his back foot and thinking he can make any play work because of his strong arm.

Regardless, defending Cutler is not a business I wish to be in, so I'll bow out. I think he's perfectly average with occasional signs of being good and too many occasions of being really bad. The contract was obviously a mistake, but since they went all in without drafting a QB the last 2 years, there's not a real FA option. Best bet is try and trade up for the Oregon QB this year, but since Oakland, Jackonsville, Tennesse and Tampa could all use a QB, good 'effin luck.

Cutler's interceptions are more related to the defensive backfield of his opponents reading Cutler's eye movements when he's throwing to his secondary receivers. Post game stories are filled with backfield guys saying "I was just watching Jay's eyes and I knew where to be for the pick." The back foot tendency seems to have actually been reduced some this year from what I've seen. Although, unlike Trestman, I'm not reviewing game film. I honestly think that when Forte gets the receptions he's the primary option in most cases - those are planned plays, as they use him similarly to how Marshall Faulk was used. When he's a second option, I think the play happens quick enough, and Forte is such an outstanding route guy, that it doesn't matter if Cutler is giving things away with his eye and head movement. But really at the end of the day I agree with you. Cutler isn't a terrible QB. He's agonizing to watch because he should be an elite QB. And it's even more frustrating because of the way the press lauded Trestman for being a QB whisperer. I have no idea what the answer is, which is why they probably need to dump Emery and try to find an experienced, genius level front office guy to figure this mess out. One of my favorite tweets was yours, asking if Theo can run a football team.

I'd look to trade Marshall
He's probably untradeable, for anything worthwhile at least. But what about Jeffrey? You get at least a 1 for him, maybe even a 3 as well if you can get into a bidding war. Sure, he's the Bears best WR by far, but he's wasted on a .500 team, and with two #1s spent on defense you get better a lot faster than with just one.

is he untradeable? Still putting up numbers, but don't know about his contract or how worried teams will be about how his season ended and his age of course.

Not a big fan of a complete rebuilding in football unless you know a #1 pick is coming and a franchise player is available (the Andrew Luck scenario). I think as long as you have a decent QB (and I realize I'm in the minority here in thinking Cutler is that), you can do enough in one offseason to fix things. So I'd probably prefer to trade the old guys versus the young guys, but if they can get a mid 1st round and another decent draft pick for Jeffery, then sure.

But I'd prefer to trade Forte and Marshall and Cutler first, but I have no idea on the market on those. I'm fine with cutting Cutler too to avoid the cap hit, but I have no idea what Plan B would be there. The Oregon QB is gonna be gone and the FSU guy is someone they need to stay far away from.

Marshall is 31, his contract pays him $7.5/$7.9/$8.3 for the next three years, and he's developing a little bit of an injury rep. Plus I think he's seen as a bit of a loudmouth. I think he's worth more to a bad team than what he could command in trade, which is probably only a 6th-rounder in the most optimistic of scenarios (that's what Baltimore got for Anquan Boldin a few years ago). As much as I like Matt Forte he looks clearly to be slowing down. He doesn't have a second gear and he doesn't break tackles. Though he still has a lot of worth as a pass-catcher, and he's invaluable at picking up blitzes (until last Monday), he's due to make $7.7 next year in a league that has figured out you don't need to pay RBs. Best the Bears could get for Cutler would be another's team's problem. I bet Washington would give us RGIII for him + cash.

I'm sure the Jets would take all of them :)

My feeling, once again, is the Bears should put all their efforts in turning around their defense. I think the offense can still easily be middle of the pack to top 10, there's plenty of talent there and if they can't get rid of any of those players as it seems a few of you believe, then try to win with them.

heh, the Score but worth mentioning

@wpbc Score is reporting Trestman will be fired at end of season.

If Andy Fran's were still around...

some Rays, Padres trade rumors involving Wil Myers

also some Mariners rumors about them trading for a good bat

buzz growing on Myers to Padres...death to Myers fantasy value, but fun for baseball.

All the Padres need now is Luis Valbuena and Travis Wood!!!! Maybe TheJedi can get their old pals Casey Kelly and Rymer Liriano back...although not even sure if Casey Kelly's arm is still attached.

latest buzz is Myers to Seattle, T. Walker to Padres and something to Rays of significance...obviously. 

Samardziga already paying dividends Bruce Levine ‏@MLBBruceLevine White Sox have sold hundreds of new season ticket packages since the Jeff Samardziija last week . Could go into the thousands soon . Did you read that? Could be thousands!! Watch out WNBA Chicago Skye.

missed the B. Morrow to Padres for 1/2.5M deal...fantasy sleeper!!!

Astros settle with Jacob Nix from last year's draft drama, allegedly he gets the whole $1.5M he was expected and is eligible to be drafted again.

@keithlaw If MLB let the Astros give Nix the full amount, they just tacitly admitted that the entire draft pool system won't survive a challenge.

Lester contract breakdown from Heyman and ABC News story

$30M bonus, $15M due on 4/1/15, $2.5 million each by Dec. 31 in 2018 and 2019, and a final $10 million installment by Sept. 15, 2020.

The other $125M

15M ('15), 20M ('16 and '17), 22.5 M ('18 and '19), 15M ('20) with a $10M buyout on '21 option which is worth $25M

Their new TV deal must be expected in 2018 or 2019 I'm guessing. do you really calculate (for example) 2015 Cubs payroll: $175m/6 or $15 for Lester, $6m for Castro, $5m for Rizzo, etc.?

GEORGE A: I would do it like this:


Jon Lester - $15M (see NOTE)
Miguel Montero - $12M
Edwin Jackson
- $11M
Jason Hammel - $9M
Starlin Castro - $6M
Anthony Rizzo - $5M
Jason Motte - $4.5M (plus $2.5M performance incentives based on GF)
Tsuyoshi Wada - $4M (plus $2M performance incentives)
Jorge Soler - $2M
Ryan Sweeney - $1.5M
Jacob Turner - $1M
OTHER: Gerardo Concepcion ($500K), Kyuji Fujikawa ($500K), and Jose Veras ($150K)
SUB-TOTAL: $71.15M (plus $4.5M in performance incentives)
NOTE: $15M of Lester signing bonus payable by 4/1/2014 from 2014 payroll?

Jake Arrieta - $4.25M?
Welington Castillo - $2.25M?
Chris Coghlan - $1.75M?
Felix Doubront - $1.5M?
Justin Ruggiano - $2.75M?
Pedro Strop -
Luis Valbuena - $3.25M?
Travis Wood - $5.75M?
NOTE: Projected arbitration salaries rounded-off to nearest $250K

AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) (split contract - MLB/minor)
Arismendy Alcantara – $525K/$175K
Javy Baez - $525K/$80K
Dallas Beeler - $500K/$80K
C. J. Edwards - $500K/$40K
Justin Grimm - $525K/$300K
Kyle Hendricks - $525K/$150K
Eric Jokisch - $500K/$80K
Junior Lake - $550K/$300K
Tommy LaStella - $525K/$200
Rafael Lopez - $500K/$80K
Mike Olt - $525K/$200K 
Joe Ortiz - $525K/$175K
Blake Parker - $525K/$150K
Neil Ramirez - $525K/$300K
Donn Roach - $525K/$125K
Hector Rondon - $550K/$300K
Zac Rosscup - $525K/150K
Brian Schlitter - $550K/$300K
Dan Straily - $525K/$225K
Matt Szczur - $500K/$80K
Christian Villanueva - $500K/$80K
Logan Watkins - $525K/$100K
NOTE: Projected pre-arbitration split-contract salaries rounded off to nearest $25K

: $102.15M (plus $4.5M in performance bonuses)

So if they sign Scherzer at like $30M/per, they won't even crack into the top 10 payrolls.

-if +when they also still have that trade for g.stanton to get done...and signing d.robertson.

Lulz. They can't get Robertson until June or July. But seriously, Shields on a three year deal would be so easy if they could dump the $10M owed to WadaWood.

Thanks, Phil. I don't believe bonus paid or charged to a prior year should be counted on current year payroll like Cots does.

Wesley Wright joins Oriole bullpen. No terms yet. Love those Roch Kubatko tweets and miss Rock Shoulders already. Pat Hughes will miss Wesley too, always had issues with a lefty named Wright. edit: Looks like Wright gets a pay raise to $1.7M

AA 3-4 with a HR, 2 rbi and a walk. Manny hot too.

How does Yorvit Torrealba always end up on that chart?

Ruggiano traded to M's 25yr old AA righty Matt Brazis

Johnny Gomes time...sigh.

Because of the Ruggiano trade?

seems to be where that is headed...

Pretty much how I feel about it. Guess the alternatives are Lake or Szczur, and neither one is exactly thrilling.

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