According to a report on Twitter from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Motte will not pitch this season following the decision by team officials to proceed with Tommy John surgery to his right arm:
Motte, who led the NL in saves last year with 42, has done everything he could in rehab to avoid a trip to the operating table. He felt good in late April after throwing from 60 feet (h/t Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com), but his latest throwing session revealed that the problem would not fix itself.
The 30-year-old closer has 54 saves, a 17-13 record and a 2.87 ERA in parts of a five-season MLB career—all with the Cardinals. He was also a member of the team's 2011 World Series championship team, getting the clinching out in Game 7 of the series against the Texas Rangers.
He broke on the scene in 2008 as a rookie, holding a 0.82 ERA in 12 games. From there, Motte established himself as a front-end bullpen guy and took over the closer job late in the 2011 season, a move that Tony LaRussa has to feel like is one of his finest after the results of the 2011 postseason.
While trading for bullpen help isn't likely right now, the Cardinals could be in the market for such a deal in the very near future.
Mitchell Boggs flamed out in the closer's role to start the season and was sent down minors on Friday—hours before the team made the announcement that Motte would miss the season (via St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
Edward Mujica has been much better as the closer since being moved into the role by manager Mike Matheny, completing seven straight saves dating back to his first appearance as the closer on April 18.
While the news on Motte is troubling for Cardinals fans, it's a move that many expected after an April MRI revealed he tore a ligament in his throwing elbow (via MLB.com). If everything goes according to plan, he could return by this time next season, and an early recovery schedule might place a return somewhere in the area of spring training in 2014.
The Cardinals currently have a team ERA of 3.14 (heading into Friday night)—the second-best mark in baseball. They will miss Motte down the stretch, though, and almost certainly will have to do something to add depth to the 'pen if a playoff push is in their future.