With their bullpen a question mark heading into 2016, the Tigers made a Hail Mary move on Thursday and signed Edward Mujica to a minor league contract.
The news was first reported by Tommy Stokke of FanRagSports.
In giving Mujica a spot to make the opening day roster, it appears the Tigers are trying to catch lightning in a bottle. The 32-year-old right-handed reliever didn’t pitch in the big leagues last season, but enjoyed sporadic MLB success from 2009 to 2014. He was an All-Star in 2013, when he posted a 2.78 ERA and 1.005 WHIP and converted 37 saves for the Cardinals.
Mujica spent last season toiling in Triple-A. He began the year with the Phillies’ Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, where he registered a 3.69 ERA and 1.179 WHIP before being released in July. From there, he signed with the Royals’ Omaha Storm Chasers but was dropped less than a month later after being shelled over nine appearances. He ended the season on a high note with the Twins’ Rochester Red Wings, pitching to a 1.35 ERA in six games.
Over 51 games in Triple-A in 2016, Mujica registered 28 saves (the bulk of which came with the Iron Pigs) while posting a 4.37 ERA and a 1.266 WHIP.
The Tigers’ bullpen finished 13th in the A.L. last season with a 4.22 ERA and 11th with a 1.34 WHIP. The team’s only reliable reliever was Francisco Rodriguez (whose option the Tigers picked up earlier this offseason), and even he scuffled toward the end of the year. If Mujica can show flashes of his 2013 form in spring training, he may well earn himself a spot in Detroit’s bullpen.
Mujica’s last big-league action came in 2015, when he posted a 4.75 ERA and a 1.246 WHIP over 49 games with the Red Sox and the A’s.