There were so many players who contributed to the Cardinals wild finish during the 2011 regular season, but can anyone question the fact that if Jason Motte didn’t step up as a closer in the final month of the season, that this team would have been cooked?

The Cardinals solidified the back end of their bullpen by avoiding arbitration with Motte by agreeing to a one year deal worth $1.95 million for the 2012 season.

Motte was a true savior. He was Tony La Russa’s fifth option to use as a closer and picked up his first save on August 28th. He then recorded nine saves and the Cardinals won 17 of the last 18 games he pitched in. Prior to winning the closer’s role, his most spectacular work came in the form of going 33 straight innings without allowing an earned run.

In the post-season, Motte was just as good, recording five saves in 12 appearances.  He finished the 2011 season 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 78 appearances.