Cards acquire reliever Mujica

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Cardinals’ attempts to fortify their bullpen for the season’s final two months has led them to right-hander Edward Mujica, who the club acquired from the Marlins shortly before Tuesday’s 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline. In exchange, the Cardinals sent former first-round Draft pick Zack Cox to Miami.

Mujica, 28, has a 4.38 ERA in 41 appearances this year, his second with the Marlins. In seven big-league seasons, Mujica has posted a 4.42 ERA. He has allowed 50 home runs in 348 1/3 innings and has a career 283 strikeouts. Mujica will be under team control for the rest of this season, as well as 2013.

The Cardinals will be responsible for paying Mujica the rest of the $1.625 million he is owed this year.

The addition of Mujica is likely to signal a return to the Minors for one of the Cardinals’ two current bullpen rookies – Trevor Rosenthal or Barret Browning. Which one goes is likely to hinge on whether the Cardinals prefer to move forward with two or three left-handers in the ‘pen.

The cost for Mujica was Cox, the 25th overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Cox’s stock has fallen as he’s climbed through the Minors, and he was not considered an above-average defender at his natural position – third base. In 84 games with Triple-A Memphis this season, Cox hit .254 with a .294 on-base percentage.

With David Freese expected to be the Cardinals’ third base for the foreseeable future, Cox was seen as an expendable piece in St. Louis’ system. He entered 2012 ranked by MLB.com as the sixth-best prospect in the organization.

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11 Comments

A lot to give up for an almost 4.5 career ERA.

Mujica seems useful, and RH relief pitching has been an area of need for the team, but this still seems like something of an overpay to me.

Wow… what happened to their position of if a good deal didn’t present itself they were fine as is? a 4.4 ERA and only 283 K’s in 348 1/3 innings… as a reliever. Please explain how this makes sense with the two rookies they are deciding between have been tearing it up in the bullpen?

Personally, if Mujica is at all adequate in the pen (and he’s been “adequate” over his career, although not more), I’d just as soon see Rosenthal go back to the minors, where they can resume grooming him as a starter. This kid has way too much potential for him to be treated as bullpen filler. In this regard, and with the caveat that I’m not totally convinced Mujica improves on Marte, Cleto, etc., I do like this trade, although I still wonder if Cox could have been parlayed into something better.

BRONXTON goes to reds though so the division is definitely lost.

Confused as to why we need this guy….doesn’t sem to be any better than who we have currently. Would rather keep Rosenthal and Browning on the ML roster.

Complete waste of minor league talent for a so-so pitcher with a lifetime 4.4 era. Mo needs to be a little more creative……..you think?

The guy that isn’t pulling his weight is Matheny. 12 – 18 in one run games. He is a below average manger, maybe quite a bit below average when you figure in the extra inning record. Why can’t they send him down to AAA for a month or two?

Matheney isn’t the problem. He has applied the sac bunt entirely too often, yes, but his use of the bullpen and his lineups are usually legit. The inadequacy of clutch hitting in close games coupled with bullpen issues are the reason the Cards are sitting in third place, despite boasting the best all around offense in the league statistically. I agree that a bullpen piece needed to be added for this team to compete (see Cardinals circa 2011) but Cox for Mujica?? I find it hard to believe a college hitter and former number one pick of Cox’s caliber couldn’t pull a guy closer to Broxton’s talent level. A complete waste of a number one pick and STL is also on the hook for the absurdly pro-rated salary Mujica is owed. A career 4.4 era reliever who isn’t pitching any better than his line suggests isn’t the answer. Last year’s trade was necessary for multiple reasons and enabled the club to compete. I feel that this move was made to simply “do something”. That something is far from the answer

Also, Jenifer your lack of comment on this trade leads me to believe you don’t think it was the wisest move either and I would love to hear your thoughts. Mo dropped the ball on this one. I get that Cox is expendable, but can Mujica really bring stability?

Yes tonight showed that the bullpen is in *great* shape. Feel bad for Lynn, with the bullpen squandering another quality start.

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