Constant traveler Motte has no problem fitting in

Veteran right-hander expected to boost Rockies' clubhouse, bullpen

March 10th, 2016

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Ask Jason Motte where he lived between kindergarten and 12th grade, and he'll recite a list of locales that reads like that old Johnny Cash tune.

"Michigan, Louisiana, Connecticut, Louisiana again, Colorado, Florida, Arkansas, Kentucky, Florida again, New York," Motte said Thursday morning in the spring clubhouse of his new team, the Colorado Rockies.

"My dad worked construction. We were constantly moving around. So I'm used to being the new kid coming in, having to meet new people."

Motte has been everywhere, but now he's on a team coming off a 68-94 record and a last-place finish in the National League West, in some part because of a leaky bullpen.

Rockies Spring Training information

Motte has a solid pedigree, having saved 42 games as the Cardinals' closer in 2012. After coming back from Tommy John surgery with St. Louis in '14, he moved over to the Cubs last year. There, he went 8-1 with a 3.91 ERA in 57 games in more of a specialized role.

Motte, 33, has a good chance to be in Colorado's late-inning mix, and with the relief corps full of new pieces, including veterans Chad Qualls and hard-throwing Jake McGee, there's optimism for better performance by bullpen and team.

"For us, it's about coming in here and doing what we have to do to help the team as far as our work ethic," Motte said.

"We like to have a good time, but we also like to compete. And that's what this is about. You have to be able to compete and do what it takes to win. We have the arms to do it. But it can't just be on paper. It's on us to be consistent, go out and do it day in and day out in the big leagues."

Motte is well-known to the Rockies, who have faced him plenty of times in the past. He still has the long beard. He's still a gregarious personality who livens up a locker room. And he still throws hard.

"He brings another quality arm down there," Qualls said. "I think teams are starting to realize that a strong bullpen is what teams are after, but not only a strong bullpen, a bullpen that has depth. So I think bringing myself, Jason, Jake McGee, Boone Logan's already here. ... The depth is also a key contributor."

Rockies manager Walt Weiss smiled when asked if Motte has already fit in among his new teammates.

"I don't think it takes long for Motte to fit in anywhere," Weiss said. "He's made his presence known, and that's a good thing. I love his energy. I love the way he competes.

"His appearance, his energy ... it's tough for him [not to stand out]."