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Boston lacked relievers until today when the Red Sox acquired a top reliever in Edward Mujica. Set-up men for the ever-dominant Koji Uehara are hard to find at a reasonable price point, but Ben Cherrington did his magic penning a deal with the former St. Louis Cardinal.
During the 2013 season, Mujica held a 1.73 ERA entering September. He finished the year with an impressive 2.78 ERA. Postseason fatigue played a part in the increase in his earned run average. The Sox gave the right-handed pitcher a salary increase of a bit over $1 million per year, equaling a $9.5 million, two-year deal. His numbers and salary give Red Sox fans hope after the club non-tendered Andrew Bailey on Monday.
Before the news about Mujica on Thursday, a concern was that the Sox threw Bailey out with the bathwater, otherwise known as Ryan Kalish. Perhaps, if the Sox invested more time into Bailey, he could have been a decent middle reliever. Decent is no longer enough for the World Series Champions. John Farrell has other places in which he must focus his managerial skills.
There is a world of possibility for Farrell with this new acquisition. Mujica stats seem to go tit-for-tat with those belonging to Koji Uehara. Boston may just have the best reliever and closer in the 2014 American League East Division. Ricky Doyle of NESN.com reports, “The 29-year-old issued just five walks in 64 2/3 innings — equating to a 0.70 walk rate — in 2013.” Doyle notes that Uehara’s walk rate was “1.09 walks per nine innings in 2013.”
This is a great decision on behalf of Ben Cherrington as he heads to Winter Meetings in Florida on Friday. Mujica together with the current middlemen in the Boston bullpen, like Craig Breslow and Brandon Workman, will make for a competitive bunch. Let’s not forget some of the franchise’s top prospects in Pawtucket, such as Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes, among others major league pitchers acquired along the way. All of the possible pitching combinations is music to the ears of Juan Nieves moving into the 2014 season.