Mujica, 29, saved 37 games last year for the St. Louis Cardinals before Trevor Rosenthal took over the job in the playoffs. The eight-year veteran also has had stints with the Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres and Florida/Miami Marlins.
Mujica has incredible command of the strike zone. Although he does not strike out batters by the bushel, Mujica walked five batters in 64.2 innings last year with the Cardinals and has averaged 5.15 strikeouts-per-walk allowed in his career. A contact pitcher, he fanned 46 in 2013.
Last season was the only time in Mujica’s career that he was used as closer and that is not the role the Red Sox will use him in in 2014. His success as a closer earned him his first All-Star Game selection.
The Padres and Marlins used him as a long reliever or at the end of games where they were behind, averaging more than an inning per game in 2010 and 2011.
Along with Blake Badenhop, acquired via a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and a hopefully healthy Andrew Miller, the Red Sox have built themselves a solid bullpen to set up closer Koji Uehara.
Mujica is prone to give up the long ball, giving up 14 out of the pen for San Diego in 2010 and nine last year with St. Louis. Chances are, however, that there will not be anyone on base when he does allow the big fly as his WHIP last season was 1.005 and his ERA+ the last three seasons is over 131.
Boston has signed on the cheap a durable contact pitcher that will be an immediate asset however they use him and, with his experience as a closer, a short-term insurance policy if Uehara becomes injured.
Since 2009, Mujica has appeared in at least 59 games a year, pitching a career-high 70 times with the Cardinals and Marlins in 2012.
Despite losing his role before the playoffs, Mujica did pitch with success in 11 playoff games over the last two years, picking up a win for the Cardinals in the 2012 National League Championship Series. Posting an ERA of 2.79, he walked only one batter in 9.2 innings, striking out four of the 39 batters he faced.
The Red Sox continue to sign low-risk free agents that can offer a high reward. If Mujica can keep the ball in the yard, he will be OK.
*All statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.
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