Red Sox sign Edward Mujica to 2-year/$9.5M deal

Rough Carrigan

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Wow.  I didn't see this coming at all.  I'm not sure why they felt the need to spend that money.  I thought his peripherals were good but not great and we know they don't completely buy into the magical closer aura.  This is a bit puzzling.
 

Corsi

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Rough Carrigan said:
Wow.  I didn't see this coming at all.  I'm not sure why they felt the need to spend that money.  I thought his peripherals were good but not great and we know they don't completely buy into the magical closer aura.  This is a bit puzzling.
 
Koji pitched 90 innings last season (regular season and postseason).  It'll be nice to have a guy that can close a game in a pinch when he needs a breather.
 

smastroyin

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I like Mujica well enough and the Sox need bullpen arms unless they convert more starters. He probably cost himself 2 or 3 million with his late season swoon. Hopefully not predictive.
 

Montana Fan

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I love it.  You can't have too many solid bullpen arms.  Plus we didn't have to trade Hassan or someone of his ilk to get him.
 

Corsi

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Also, he's not tied to any draft pick compensation.
 

johnnywayback

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I like the signing.  A guy who has closed games successfully and has consistently exhibited solid command for not much money.  If he hadn't slumped a bit in the second half last year, he'd have cost a lot more (and demanded a closer job), and I think it's worth gambling that a slump was all it was.
 

SouthernBoSox

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The feeling was he was going to command a deal in the 3 year 15+ millions territory. Coming in below both is nice.

The command coming out of that bullpen is going to be bananas. Strike throwing machines.
 
M

MentalDisabldLst

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B-ref page.
 
Great BB rates, throughout his career.  Middling K rates, but primo K/BB as a result of the combination.  And is still only 29.  That said, those rates are from being in the NL, where 90% of his career innings have been: 2 years each with SDP, MIA and most recently STL.
 
I like the signing.  Short money and years but they didn't "go cheap".
 

Corsi

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johnnywayback said:
I like the signing.  A guy who has closed games successfully and has consistently exhibited solid command for not much money.  If he hadn't slumped a bit in the second half last year, he'd have cost a lot more (and demanded a closer job), and I think it's worth gambling that a slump was all it was.
 
His slump was really only the final 7.1 innings in September.  He pitched 9 innings in the postseason and posted a 2.79 ERA and 1.138 WHIP.
 
 

curly2

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This could be a terrific move, especially at these terms. Koji was third or fourth in line for closer going into last season. Bullpen depth is huge.
 

nvalvo

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If I'm reading this right, bWAR thinks Mujica's 2013 was amazing — 1.4 WAR is just crazy good for a reliever. In contrast, fWAR thinks he was precisely replacement level — 0.0. That's a huuuuuuge difference. 
 
I believe that Baseball-Reference uses RA9 to calculate pitcher WAR, while Fangraphs uses FIP. And FIP doesn't love him: while he doesn't walk anyone, he's not especially good at striking people out or inducing ground balls.
 
This signing seems like a glance inside the Red Sox' approach to pitcher valuation. 
 

Ed Hillel

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The HR numbers scare me, but he's been a decent-good reliever over the course of his career, and the Sox probably needed another arm or two in the pen. For the money, it seems about right.
 

Sox and Rocks

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This is essentially the same price as Bailey would have cost, had they tendered him a contract, so effectively they chose Mujica over Bailey as a set-up guy and fill-in closer. 
 
Seems like a good decision.  When healthy, Bailey may be a better pitcher than Mujica, but when is he ever healthy? 
 

Greg29fan

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Pilgrim said:
it isnt a huge necessity, but another 80 innings of high quality RH relief was definitely on the shopping list.  
 
Wish we knew more about what happened to him at the end of last year, though.  
 
http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/09/29/edward-mujica-is-a-mess/
 

Mujica admitted Friday to dealing with a mild groin strain since mid-September, which coincides with his late-season struggles. He said the injury was concentrated on his right side, his push-off leg, and it affected his delivery but has since healed with rest.
"My groin was bothering me, but I was trying to keep going, trying to help the team win. But you know, it [didn't] happen," Mujica said. "The first five months [of the season], it was an unbelievable [time] in my career. September, I had bad outings. Bad things are going to happen."
http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20131025&content_id=63344488&vkey=news_stl&c_id=stl&tcid=tw_article_63344488
 

ItOnceWasMyLife

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Solid.  Good not great insurance.  Especially good that he only cost money.  5 walks to 46 K's last year.  That'll work.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I like the signing as well and am not too worried about the late season swoon last year. He's an established decent middle reliever who was thrown into the closing role out of necessity, did a credible job for most of the season, had one bad month, and happened to be pitching on a team with ridiculous bullpen depth, such that he never regained a role. Its actually a pretty good buy-low opportunity as long as you're not expecting him to be some kind of bullpen ace just because he had the closer label for a while. He's also been really durable throughout his career and, given the number of bullpen injuries and flux we've had, it'll be nice to be able to pencil him in and be reasonably confident that he'll remain healthy.
 

jimbobim

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Control. Mr. Farrell and our pitching coach really don't like walks. solid option 
 

Plympton91

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Excellent move and surprisingly reasonable price.  I expected them to sign another closer-type given the construction of the bullpen last year.  All he has to do is stay healthy and outproduce Hanrahan/Bailey to be an upgrade.    The most worrisome thing I see in those splits is the collapse of the K/9 rate in August leading to the terrible September. 
 
Edit: groin strain; thanks Greg29...
 

Jnai

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Extremely, extremely similar pitcher to one Koji Uehara.
 
I believe he and Mujica are the only two pitchers in baseball that use more offspeed (note: offspeed, not breaking) than hard pitches, and both rely extremely heavily on the split.
 

KiltedFool

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In Cleveland, the forums sometimes called him Eddie Moo.  All I got.
 

Doctor G

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Given how hard they rode Koji and Tazawa, this is a good signing. It might also free up Workman to
concentrate on preparing for  being a starter. 
 

bosox79

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Corsi said:
 
His slump was really only the final 7.1 innings in September.  He pitched 9 innings in the postseason and posted a 2.79 ERA and 1.138 WHIP.
 
He pitched 2 innings according to bref.
 

Corsi

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bosox79 said:
He pitched 2 innings according to bref.
 
Sorry, you're right.  I was looking at career postseason totals.  
 

mt8thsw9th

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I don't get this move at all. Why would they want a really good reliever who throws strikes for reasonable money?
 

foulkehampshire

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I like it. The price of free agent relievers is only going to go up from now. Better bet than Bailey to stay healthy.
 
Shit, Joe Smith got 3 years/15.75 mil.
 

cannonball 1729

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MentalDisabldLst said:
B-ref page.
 
Great BB rates, throughout his career.  Middling K rates, but primo K/BB as a result of the combination.  And is still only 29.  That said, those rates are from being in the NL, where 90% of his career innings have been: 2 years each with SDP, MIA and most recently STL.
 
I like the signing.  Short money and years but they didn't "go cheap".
 
I tend to think that this caveat is less of an issue for relievers than starters, since NL relievers are far less likely to face a pitcher.  Also, the two leagues are much closer in talent now than they were five or six years ago.
 

beezer

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I'm a big fan of this, bullpen looks great now.  Uehara, Tazawa, Mujica, Breslow, Miller, Bradenhop.  Now I"m guessing either Morales or Workman goes to AAA as a starter. 
 

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I love relievers who don't walk people. Mujica is a great bit of depth to split the 8th inning with Tazawa.

Edit: beezer beat me to the list of bullpen resources.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Better than 4m+ for half a year of Bailey, which was the rumor last week.  Maybe they were about to do that but then got into talks with Mujica.
 
jsinger121 said:
It definitely is a weird signing as in his only AL stint from 2006-2008 with Cleveland he was bad two of those 3 years.
 
Those where his first three seasons in the major leagues, when he was 22-24 years old.
His IP in those seasons: 18.1, 13.0, 38.2
 
He got markedly better after that SSS mostly due to larger sample sizes. He's very consistently solid and above average with low, Koji-friendly BB rates. If that's what passes for "weird" with the Sox offseason, I'll take it.
 
2013 was the first time he was used to close exclusively in his career which increased his perceived value, though the 2nd half swoon probably depressed it.
I'd wonder if the usage change due to being exclusively used as a closer for the first time led to his fatiguing. Maybe they'll put him on the old Koji usage plan before Uehara was installed as closer.  
 

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foulkehampshire said:
I like it. The price of free agent relievers is only going to go up from now. Better bet than Bailey to stay healthy.
 
Shit, Joe Smith got 3 years/15.75 mil.
 
This nails it.  Compared to the Joe Smith contract (and his borderline ROOGYness), this is an absolute steal.
 

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Rough Carrigan said:
Wow.  I didn't see this coming at all.  I'm not sure why they felt the need to spend that money.  I thought his peripherals were good but not great and we know they don't completely buy into the magical closer aura.  This is a bit puzzling.
 
I think this is the opposite of "magical closer."  Its more like "'failed' closer." (with "failed" in as many quotes as I can use).  Which only matters to those who think "closing" is magical.  As others noted, he was really good and then "lost" the "closer" job when he slumped. But as we know, and as the Sox surely know, assuming no permanent injury, the slump-ness does not negate the really-good-ness.
 
I think that "closers who lost their closing job after a few bad games" is a great aisle to be shopping in.
 
In fact, to me it resembles the Koji acquisition a bit. Koji was a guy who pitched great but whose last team essentially gave up on him.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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mt8thsw9th said:
I don't get this move at all. Why would they want a really good reliever who throws strikes for reasonable money?
 
Obviously the trade market where Ben usually does his reliever shopping was closed.
 
I like this deal a lot, and view it as I viewed the Koji deal last offseason - a move that clearly improves the team at low cost and low risk. Just a really smart, solid move.
 

Harry Hooper

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Closer with groin strain history? Didn't work out so well with Hanrahan, but maybe Ben will have better luck this time. At least it only cost $ for Mujica.
 

semsox

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I will never be against getting relievers who can consistently throw strikes. There are few things more upsetting than a reliever coming in and proceeding to issue walks, so consider me a fan. I'm also curious if the FO and Farrell and co. think that more and more extensive use of shifts can help mitigate lower K numbers. The thinking used to be that if you can't consistently strike out batters at a reasonable clip, you can't be a successful pitcher, but I think with teams having access to hit f/x data and more shifts, that that thinking might be changing a bit.
 

Dogman2

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drbretto said:
Solid reliever, costing only reasonable cash. I'll take these all off-season. 
 
Gotta agree. Add in that the team does not lose any draft picks and this is a solid move.
 

Paradigm

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The days of one-year deals for solid relievers are over.
 
Billy Beane has traded for two relievers this offseason because he knows that the market for relief pitchers is inflating beyond control. Joe Smith signed a three-year deal with the Angels this year. 
 
A two-year deal for a dependable pitcher seems as reasonable as any contract this offseason.