Jason Motte hoping to be ready for game action in March

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch has a lengthy article updating the status of Jason Motte, who’s recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery last May.

In his absence Trevor Rosenthal has taken over as the Cardinals’ closer after Motte saved a league-leading 42 games in 2012, so whenever he does return it’ll be as a setup man. And according to Goold the 32-year-old right-hander is “working toward games possibly in mid-March.”

There are quite a few hurdles to clear before then and Motte is definitely behind a normal pitching schedule as spring training nears. There’s a good chance he’ll begin the season on the disabled list, but by May or June he could be helping an already deep Cardinals bullpen.

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”