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01/22/2013 5:22 PM ET

Motte, Cardinals reach two-year agreement

Closer, club avoid arbitration through deal's end; Freese, Rzepczynski on table

ST. LOUIS -- Closer Jason Motte has inked a two-year contract with the Cardinals that will buy out his final two seasons of arbitration-eligibility. At the end of the deal, Motte will be a free agent.

The Cardinals announced the agreement on Tuesday afternoon and can now turn their attention to finalizing 2013 contracts with David Freese and Marc Rzepczynski, the club's two arbitration-eligible players who remain unsigned. Arbitration hearings will be held in February for players and clubs who cannot agree to contract terms independently.

Though the financial terms of Motte's deal were not immediately known, the figures exchanged between the Cardinals and Motte last week provide some insight into where both sides were sitting. Motte filed for a $5.5 million salary. The Cardinals countered by submitting a $4.5 million offer.

By signing Motte for more than the requisite one year, the club receives cost certainty and will not have to go through the arbitration process with Motte again next year. Motte, on the other hand, receives financial security regardless of his 2013 performance.

Motte earned $1.95 million in 2012, which was his first full season as the Cardinals' closer. He saved a National League-high 42 games and held opponents to a .191 batting average. He is one of only four Cardinals to ever reach that 40-save plateau.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.