The Red Sox have been stocking up on bullpen pieces this past week, trading Anthony Ranaudo to Texas for lefty Robbie Ross before adding another former Ranger in Alexi Ogando. Now it looks like they may be looking to open some space in that relief corps, as Ken Rosenthal says they've recently made Edward Mujica available:
Source: #Red Sox in recent days have expressed a willingness to move RH reliever Edward Mujica, who will earn $4.75M this season.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 30, 2015
Mujica, of course, is not exactly at peak value right now. The nine-year veteran quickly fell out of favor in his first year with the Red Sox after allowing ten runs in nine dismal April innings. He recovered nicely from that point, posting a 2.82 ERA from May onward with a 37:10 K:BB and even taking over the closer's role late in the year when Koji Uehara was struggling. But in many ways the damage had been done as far as perception was concerned, and even with five good months, Mujica finished the year with a disappointing 3.90 ERA.
Still, at the moment Mujica seems like a strong candidate to bounce back given how he finished the year. Given that Mujica's $4.75 million contract is not enough to get the Red Sox back under the CBT threshold, there seems to be little advantage to trading him away unless the return is significant. More significant than one might expect from a reliever coming off a down year, frankly.
This might just be the Red Sox floating his name around to see if anyone still views him as the closer candidate he was with St. Louis. After all, if Andrew Miller can net a prospect like Eduardo Rodriguez at the deadline, there's something to be said for seeing where the market stands, particularly for a player on half the salary. But if they're actively seeking to get him off the roster, there has to be a reason for it beyond his 2014 performance. They've made rash decisions based on small sample sizes with relievers before (while ignoring late-season trends to boot), and the result was Mark Melancon putting up huge numbers for Pittsburgh while Joel Hanrahan crashed and burned in Boston.