Edward Mujica Is Killing Me

Mujica should not be in this bullpen. Is this a knee-jerk reaction to his last two outings? In part, yes. But the fact is he is not a good reliever. With a quality arm like Adam Russell in AAA, Mujica should be DFA'd and replaced immediately.

All right, let's talk about his last couple appearances first. On Wednesday against Colorado, the Padres clawed their way back from an early deficit and took a 5-3 lead against their nemesis, Aaron Cook. Mujica was given the ball in the 6th inning, and promptly surrendered a walk, double, and triple without recording an out. The result was a 5-5 tie that the Padres went on to lose in extra innings. Then yesterday against Houston, Mujica was again given the 6th inning and a 3-0 Padre lead. By the time he was done, he had coughed up back-to-back home runs and let the Astros back into the ballgame. The Padres went on to, yep, lose in extra innings. If not for Mujica, the Padres would currently be riding a 5-game win streak and be 21-10. Ouch.

All right, emotions out of the way, let's look at the actual data. The Padres picked up Mujica on waivers from the Cleveland Indians during 2009 Spring Training. Y'all remember Kouz's grand slam against Cleveland in 2008? Yeah, that was Mujica. Anyway, let's take a look and see how he's done from 2008 with the Indians through to present with the Padres.

2008: 38.2 IP, 6.28 K/9, 2.33 BB/9, 1.16 HR/9, .333 BABIP, 56.0% LOB, 4.27 FIP
2009: 93.2 IP, 7.30 K/9, 1.83 BB/9, 1.35 HR/9, .316 BABIP, 72.7% LOB, 4.03 FIP
2010: 15.1 IP, 8.22 K/9, 1.76 BB/9, 2.93 HR/9, .215 BABIP, 100 % LOB, 6.09 FIP

A couple things jump out at you. First, Mujica has some good qualities. His misses a lot of bats and doesn't issue many free passes. Those qualities improved upon coming to the National League and San Diego. The problem, though, is home runs. Mujica started off with the Indians giving up slightly more than the league average (1.01 HR/9). However, despite moving to the easier league and playing half his games in a ballpark that devours home runs, he's somehow managed to surrender MORE long balls. His rate went up to 1.35 HR/9 in 2009, and has ballooned to 2.93 HR/9. Home/away split? Yes, he does have one. In 2009, he gave up 0.69 HR/9 at home, but a whopping 2.16 HR/9 on the road. His career split (which includes time with the Indians) is 0.97 HR/9 at home, 1.99 HR/9 on the road.

Obviously we have sample size issues for the 2010 data, but the trend is an alarming one. Edward has a problem keeping the ball in the park. That sort of problem is unacceptable, especially for relievers who are often asked to enter the game in high leverage, close game situations.

And to make matters worse, Mujica is GETTING LUCKY. His BABIP of .215 is the lowest on the staff behind Luke Gregerson. His LOB% is 100%, which is completely unsustainable. Sooner or later (probably sooner), those balls in play against him are going to start falling in. Those runners he inherits or allows to reach are going to come around to score. The solo home runs he's allowing are going to become 2- and 3-run jacks.

Mujica has to go. And it's not like the Padres are without options. Waiting in the wings at AAA is Adam Russell, a guy who doesn't have a home run problem, is a ground ball pitcher, and has shown dominating stuff when he's been up here. Hopefully Black and Hoyer see the same thing I do, and get rid of Mujica as soon as possible.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Gaslamp Ball community and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gaslamp Ball managers or SB Nation.

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