Gammons: Cardinals Acquire Right-Handed Reliever Edward Mujica from Marlins for Zack Cox

May 15, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Edward Mujica (34) throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth inning at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

Just when general manager John Mozeliak had lulled Cardinaldom to sleep due to the dearth of trade gossip, he struck a deal. Hall-of-Fame scribe Peter Gammons has tweeted that the Cardinals have added to their relief corps one hour before the non-waiver trade deadline. St. Louis has reportedly acquired right-handed reliever Edward Mujica from the Miami Marlins in exchange for former first-round pick Zack Cox.

28 years old, Mujica broke into the big leagues in 2006 with the Cleveland Indians, then spent two seasons with the Padres, and has been a Marlin for the last two seasons. Here are his career and 2012 numbers per Fangraphs:

Split

G

IP

K/9

BB/9

HR/9

LOB%

ERA

FIP

xFIP

Career

287

348.1

7.31

1.55

1.29

70.7%

4.13

3.89

3.68

2012

41

39.0

6.00

2.08

1.38

66.5%

4.38

4.51

4.10

Mujica relies heavily on a combination of his four-seam fastball and splitter. The right-hander's four-seamer has averaged 92.89 MPH this season according to Brooks Baseball while the splitter clocks in at 81.18 MPH on average. He has also thrown a sinker 16% of the time and a slider 12% of the time.

Mujica's groundball rate has risen each of the last five seasons, from 30.5% in 2008 to 39.0% in 2009 to 44.7% in 2010 to 48.3% in 2011 to 50.4% in 2012. Mujica has also managed a below-average LD rate each of the last four seasons, with a quite low LD rate of 14.5% in 2012. This helps explain his .252 BABIP on the year.

Mujica's LOB% of 66.5% is well below his career rate of 70.7% and the 2012 reliever league average of 74.7%. There is reason to believe that it should rise as a matter of course even with his K/9 of 6.00 being significantly below the 8.32 K/9 that is the league average for relievers.

As this chart demonstrates, Mujica is below-average in every way except his BB/9 and BABIP. It is his low BB/9 that enables him to survive as a reliever. The low BABIP doesn't hurt either.

2012

BABIP

K/9

BB/9

HR/9

LOB%

ERA

FIP

xFIP

Mujica

.252

6.00

2.08

1.38

66.5%

4.38

4.51

4.10

MLB RP

.290

8.32

3.53

0.92

74.7%

3.68

3.84

3.94

The Cardinals drafted Zack Cox with their first pick in the 2010 draft. Touted as the most-polished college bat in that draft, Cox has never quite shown the shine of said polish. He started slow in Rookie ball in 2010 before heating up. In 2011, Cox spent time in High-A where he posted a .335/.380/.439 (.369 wOBA) that earned him a promotion to Double-A Springfield. In the hitter's paradise that is the Texas League and the left-handed hitter's launching pad that is Hammons Fields, Cox put together a solid if unspectacular partial season, batting .293/.355/.432 (.350 wOBA). In 2012, the Cardinals started Cox with Triple-A Memphis, where he has failed to impress. His 19.9% strikeout rate and 3.8% walk rate are a brutal combination that reflect his poor .254/.294/.421 (.311 wOBA) line in the PCL, a league renowned for being good to hitters.

Mozeliak and the Cardinals appear to have cooled on Cox enough to sell low on him in exchange for a largely below-average right-handed reliever, albeit one who is in his last year of arbitration eligibility next season.

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