The Phillies reportedly are in the hunt for an eighth-inning setup man. And to do so, they're willing to go three full years, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Source: Phillies strongly pursuing eighth-inning relievers, including Edward Mujica. Believed to be willing to go three years for setup man.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 15, 2013
How did Mujica do? Well, in 2013 he went 2-1 with a 2.78 ERA and 37 saves. Those numbers sound impressive; perhaps they look more impressive than the Phillies' own Jonathan Papelbon. But those statistics include a dominant April through August and a putrid September. In fact, the St. Louis Cardinals got the World Series by not using Mujica as the club's closer the whole trek through the playoffs; the work went to Trevor Rosenthal instead.
Mujica's numbers are dominant...except September:
- April: 0.90 ERA; 5 saves in 5 chances
- May: 2.57 ERA; 12 saves in 12 chances
- June: 3.12 ERA; 4 saves in 4 chances
- July: 1.50 ERA; 9 saves in 11 chances
- August: 0.71 ERA; 5 saves in 5 chanes
- September: 11.05 ERA; 2 saves in 4 chances
Mujica's fall was really fast. Why was that? According to MLB.com's Chad Thornburg, Mujica was slightly injured down the stretch:
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."
That in itself is a little alarming, considering the Phillies are spending $6 million on Mike Adams, who was injured last year. Could Mujica's groin have healed? Possibly. Is that worth a three-year risk? I'm not so sure.
Mujica was much of a journeyman before figuring things out with the Cardinals after a mid-season acquisition from the Marlins in 2012. Is that who the Phillies are going to sign? Maybe. Other players are out there, such as Joe Smith. But Mujica's dominant April - August would sure be a big help to the Phillies if he can reclaim it.