Detroit Tigers: Edward Mujica Is Intriguing Potential Roster Addition

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Edward Mujica enters Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. His closing experience makes him a player to watch as Opening Day gets closer.

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila added significant minor league depth this offseason.

While some of that depth will give Detroit more options at Triple-A Toledo, it will also present the Tigers with players to potentially fill out the team’s Opening Day roster.

Despite a lineup and rotation that are largely set, Detroit could conceivably utilize a non-roster invitee as a relief pitcher or as a bench cog.

One area where depth is always a positive is in the bullpen.

The Tigers return closer Francisco Rodriguez and top setup men Bruce Rondon and Justin Wilson from last season.

Additionally, the likes of Shane Greene, Alex Wilson, Kyle Ryan, Mark Lowe and Blaine Hardy will also be back.

Detroit could also slot Joe Jimenez, Adam Ravenelle Daniel Stumpf, Buck Farmer, Drew VerHagen, Chad Bell or Victor Alcantara into relief roles.

On paper, that’s a solid group to help the team return to the postseason.

However, the team could use another pitcher with closing experience to serve as a backup to Rodriguez.

Jimenez is one option, but the Tigers may want to ease him into things once he makes his Major League debut.

One name to watch is Edward Mujica.

More on Mujica

The 10-year veteran is in camp as a non-roster invitee.

Having previously appeared in the Majors with Boston and Oakland in 2015, Mujica also saw time with Cleveland, San Diego and St. Louis.

In fact, the reliever was traded by the Padres to the Marlins in 2010 for former Tiger Cameron Maybin.

The 2012 season saw right-hander head to St. Louis for third base prospect Zack Cox. A former first-round pick, Cox signed a minors deal with Detroit earlier this offseason.

Career Numbers

Since making his Major League debut with Cleveland in 2006, Mujica has posted a lifetime ERA of 3.85.

His best stretch came from 2009 to 2014. During that period, the reliever logged a 3.40 ERA while averaging 72 innings and eight saves per season.

The former Marlin struck out 7.3 batters per nine innings over that span.

Detroit Tigers

Sep 22, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57) delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Tigers won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

K-Rod’s Backup?

During Mujica’s stretch of quality innings from 2009 to 2014, he turned in his best Major League season to date in 2013.

In 64.2 innings of work for the Cardinals, the pitcher notched a career-best 37 saves while pitching to a 2.78 ERA. He earned All-Star honors that season while walking just 0.7 batters per nine frames.

The veteran pitcher could serve as much-needed insurance policy for Francisco Rodriguez.

Some of Detroit’s most prominent, non-closing relievers—Rondon, Justin Wilson, Ryan, Lowe, Alex Wilson, Greene, Rondon, Hardy and VerHagen— have just 17 combined saves between them.

Adding Mujica to the Opening Day roster as extra closing depth could pay dividends down the road for the Detroit Tigers if Rodriguez is forced to miss any time.

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