One of the big reasons why the Boston Red Sox were able to win the World Series last year was due to the strength and depth of their bullpen. Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara were dominating, and those arms were able to shorten a lot of games for the Red Sox.
One concern regarding the bullpen is the age of Uehara. He is 39 years old and has had an injury history. He was so good last year that it could be tough for him to top that amazing performance of 2013. In order to protect themselves in case something does happen to Uehara, the Red Sox signed Edward Mujica over the winter.
Mujica had quite the season for the St.Louis Cardinals. He didn’t start out as their closer, nor did he finish in that role, but in between he did manage to rack up 37 saves and make the All-Star team. He pitched in the second game against the Baltimore Orioles during the seventh inning and had some pretty nasty stuff.
For now, it appears as though he will be the seventh inning guy, and having a pitcher with that sort of stuff with closer experience can be a very potent weapon in the bullpen. Sometimes the biggest outs may not be in the ninth inning but earlier in the game, like the seventh inning.
That was originally the plan for Uehara, serving as a setup man until fate and injuries changed that plan. Here is to hoping that Boston won’t have to go to that plan again, but it feels good knowing that the Red Sox have a reliever of Mujica’s pedigree in the bullpen.