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St. Louis Cardinals, Jason Motte Avoid Arbitration, Agree To $1.95 Million Deal

The St. Louis Cardinals and relief pitcher Jason Motte have agreed to a one-year, $1.95 million contract with another $75K in potential incentives, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The deal allows the two sides to avoid an arbitration hearing in the pitcher's first year of eligibility.

Motte, 29, posted a 2.25 ERA in 68 innings with St. Louis in 2011. He posted a nearly identical 2.24 ERA in 52 innings during the previous season, so he's established himself as one of the top relievers in the National League. With a fastball that averages 96 miles per hour and improving command, he's a quality weapon for new manager Mike Matheny in the bullpen.

Before agreeing to the deal, both sides submitted figures for a potential arbitration hearing. Motte requested $2.4 million for 2012 while the Cardinals submitted $1.5 million, so the two sides actually met exactly at the midpoint of those two figures.

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