ST. LOUIS – The Cardinals moved to improve their bullpen Tuesday afternoon, acquiring Marlins right-handed reliever Edward Mujica in exchange for Triple-A Memphis third-baseman Zack Cox.
Mujica, 28, had a 4.38 ERA in 41 games for Florida but held right-handed batters to a .211 batting average. The control pitcher has walked just nine batters in 39 innings but has given up six home runs.
“I’m excited to have Mujica and I think he’s going to be a nice fit,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Jim Hayes on the FOX Sports Midwest pregame show. “I know what we’ve heard about him so far have all been things to be excited about.
“Obviously we’ve seen him a lot in spring training and through the season., but another guy who is going to bring some experience and help out some of our young pitchers down there.”
The seven-year big league veteran has a career 17-18 record and a 4.13 ERA in 287 games with Cleveland, San Diego and Miami. He was considered one of the best setup relievers in baseball in 2011, posting a 2.96 ERA in 67 appearances.
Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist told Hayes, “We’ll start hammering him with the down in the strike zone, quick contact, keep them on the ground and try to keep people on the ground maybe more than he has in the past and basically see what we get.”
Cox, a former first round draft pick, struggled in his first season a Triple-A and hit just .254 with nine home runs and 30 RBI in 84 games. Cox was expendable because of the emergence of David Freese as well as the Cardinals recent selections of several third base prospects in June’s MLB Draft.
General manager John Mozeliak told FOX Sports Midwest that Cox had been “inconsistent” during his time in the minor leagues and that the move was best for both parties because they didn’t see a long-term future for him within the organization.
Mujica will join the Cardinals in Colorado late Tuesday night, but a corresponding roster move likely won’t be made until Wednesday. The Marlins were in Atlanta for a series against the Braves.