Mujica Returns to Cardinals on Minor League Deal

photo: Edward Mujica (David Welker/Getty Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals added minor league relief depth in their Wednesday signing of Edward Mujica. In an indication the right-hander is not being counted on for immediate help in St. Louis, the 33-year old did not receive an invitation to major league spring training camp as a non-roster player. Of course, he could earn his way back up later on.

Edward Mujica (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images)

The native of Venezuela is well-traveled to say the least, with this his 10th affiliated organization stop, including second with St. Louis. Mujica first joined the Cardinals at the July trade deadline in 2012 from the Miami Marlins in return for first-round bust third baseman Zack Cox.

In 2013, Mujica became St. Louis’ closer by attrition as the bullpen went through significant turmoil. The spring began with incumbent Jason Motte requiring Tommy John surgery. Mitchell Boggs flamed out and was traded away. Same with primary lefty Marc Rzepczynski. Former closer Fernando Salas spent most of the season back in Memphis.

Mujica was named a National League All-Star on the way to logging 37 saves in 41 chances, but faded late. He was replaced as the closer by Trevor Rosenthal and departed as a free agent following the Cardinals’ defeat in the 2013 World Series. He soon joined the reigning World Champions, the Boston Red Sox, on a two-year, $9.5 million contract, but from there, his career went downhill.

From St. Louis, Mujica became a true baseball vagabond, moving to six organizations in the last five years – Boston, Oakland, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Minnesota and Detroit. The last two seasons, he had primarily pitched in a set-up role at Triple-A for the Tigers.

After having not pitched in the majors since 2015, Mujica did receive a brief audition with Detroit last August, but it went very poorly and ended quickly. He served up long balls in four of his five outings on the way to a 9.95 ERA.

Mujica’s initial 2018 assignment would appear to be at Triple-A Memphis.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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