Edward Mujica was signed to a two-year deal to provide the Red Sox with bullpen depth and closer protection. After the 2013 disappearance of Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey, the old adage of “never enough pitching” surfaced.
Mujica in 2013 was the closer for the St. Louis Cardinals, racking up 37 saves in the process, only to lose his job late in the season. Mujica suffered an injury that placed him on the DL and proved ineffective upon his return, watching his ERA for the last month of the season balloon to 11.05.
What attracted the Red Sox was 1.45: that represents Mujica’s BB/9 career rate. In 2013, that rate was a minuscule 0.70. Majica throws strikes.
When the 2014 season started, Mujica became a pitching piñata. In the first month, in nine innings, Mujica had an ERA of 10.00 and walked four. BABIP was a dismal .371 and WHIP checked in at 2.00. The expensive ($9.5M for two years) insurance policy was rapidly becoming a liability. Visions of Eric Gagne?
With May came a pitching rebound for Mujica. In 10.2 innings he has issued only two walks – right in line with his career profile. His ERA has reduced to 3.38 for May. BABIP for May is down to .233 and his LOB% sits at 100% for the month. WHIP has shrunk to 1.13 for May.
Mujica has simply turned it around. This is exactly the type of contribution that was expected and if May is any indication Mujica will now be a valuable contributor and not a dangerous afterthought.