By Jason Wojciechowski on May 10, 2015 at 2:35 PM
Another day, another new reliever. In a cash or PTBNL move, the A's picked up Edward Mujica from the Red Sox. They cleared a 40-man spot by putting Jarrod Parker on the 60-day disabled list, which doesn't really mean anything about his newest elbow injury, suffered in painful and/or gruesome fashion during a rehab appearance, because his eligibility to return from the DL doesn't substantially change either way.
No 25-man move has been announced, as the team doesn't need to make a move until Mujica reports. Tyler Clippard and Evan Scribner are safe -- beyond their out-of-options status, they've both pitched well (though Clippard's component stats are not up to the snuff of his ERA). Fernando Abad is also out of options, and has probably earned a little longer to try to figure things out. Fernando Rodriguez pitched so well in his first 3 2/3 innings of the year that it'd be disheartening to demote him -- what kind of message does that send? So that means we're down to Dan Otero, who has a good walk rate and nothing else going for him, Chris Bassitt, who's walking the whole world and might be better served starting in Triple-A than relieving in the bigs, and Angel Castro, who has appeared once so far, but who didn't impress anyone around the league enough to give him a shot in the bigs until now, probably for a reason. My guess, sad as this is, is that Castro is going down.
Mujica's glory years are probably behind him:
|162 Game Avg.||3||4||.478||3.79||67||7||76||76||34||10||13||3||59||1||103||3.81||1.2||1.5||7.0|
That was a pretty good run, including a year as an All-Star closer for a 97-win Cardinals team that lost the World Series to the Red Sox. He started giving up hits last year, though, and so far this year he's failed to strike people out while giving up hits and homers. He's a 2.5-pitch pitcher, with a four-seam fastball and a splitter being the two, and a slider being the half, and his fastball is down over 1 mph from his 2013 fastball.
If there's hope for a Mujica resurgence in Oakland, it goes like this: His splitter actually has about an inch more downward movement than it's had over the last two years, and while his whiff rate on the pitch is down, he's inducing over 70 percent grounders per ball in play on the pitch, but he's also allowed a .360 BABIP. He's kept his ball down in the past, and that hasn't changed:
So a little bit of luck here and there and perhaps the A's will have themselves a solid middle reliever, someone they can count on more than they would be able to count on Castro. Alternatively, my clicking randomly around Brooks Baseball until I see something I can seize on to convince myself that all is not lost doesn't outweigh the combined acumen of the Red Sox front office that decided to designate Mujica for assignment in order to call up Matt Barnes.
Also, today is Mujica's birthday.