For Edward Mujica the two halves made a whole for 2014 and the first half was a statistical and performance hole. The second a resurrection.
Mujica joined Boston as a free agent with a two – year deal for 9.5M. In 2013 Mujica gathered in 37 saves for the St. Louis Cardinals before a late season meltdown cost Mujica the closer role. Mujica was signed to provide late inning relief and as a closer incase Koji Uehara had health or performance issues. Depth to the ever expanding role of the bullpen in baseball.
The first half of the 2014 season was a disaster for Mujica and brought back memories of Eric Gagne and his Red Sox days. An ERA of 5.45, WHIP of 1.50, FIP of 4.46 and six home runs allowed in his 34.2 innings. Mujica was a gas can brought to an open pit Bar-B-Que. Then, he flipped.
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Bad Mujica suddenly became good Mujica and eventually finished up as the Red Sox closer with six saves in the last five weeks of the season. The rest of the line showed a resuscitated season as no balls went yard in 25.1 innings and an ERA that dropped to 1.78 in the second half, a WHIP that shrunk to 1.22 and an FIP shaved to 2.66.
Who was the real Mujica?
Mujica clearly demonstrated in the second half of 2014 the pitcher the Red Sox expected him to be. Both a setup or closer role was smoothly performed and the Red Sox expect the same for 2015 – especially with a price tag approaching 5M.
Edward can close as evidenced by his late season 2014 performance and his stay in St. Louis. With Koji on board for two years the Bostonians have the versatility to flip-flop either if performance pangs surface, injuries happen or someone needs a few days rest – especially the 40 year old Koji.
Mujica relies primarily on a fastball, slider and cutter. His K/BB rate was 3.07 for 2014 and his fastball was in the low 90s on his best days. Mujica moves the ball around with reasonable control and unlike the recent staff additions his GB% is well under 50 at 43%.
Sometimes insurance can cost a bundle and then comes a disaster and it pays off. The Red Sox have part of that policy with Mujica in 2015
*** Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs