We’re only a week into the 2017 season, but one of the storylines has been the early issues with the bullpen, which were on display during their loss against the Pirates on Sunday. The Braves may have addressed the issue by dipping their toes into the free agent market to sign Jason Motte to a minor-league deal.
Motte was recently released by the Rockies after he had a rough spring, and that was coming off of a season where he didn’t exactly inspire confidence in his skills as a major league reliever in 2016. He had a 4.94 ERA and a 5.68 FIP over 23.2 IP and 30 appearances last season, so it’s safe to say that the Braves probably haven’t found the solution to their relief issues with this signing.
Interestingly enough, Motte had a pretty good season with strikeouts last year, as he had a K% (22 percent on the dot) that was similar to what he was putting up during his years as a productive reliever with the Cardinals. However, that may have been just a blast from the past instead of a sign of things to come from the 34-year-old reliever.
Either way, the Braves have added a bit of organizational depth to their bullpen with this move. It’s not going to cause waves like the Ryan Howard deal did, and it would probably be best if we didn’t see Jason Motte in high-leverage situations with the big league team this year. Still, it’s a very low-risk move and this front office has shown a propensity for making these types of moves at this stage in the rebuild.