Miami continued parting with pieces from their Major League roster as the trade deadline approached, agreeing to send right-hander reliever Edward Mujica to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for third baseman Zach Cox.
Mujica was part of the return Miami received when they sent Cameron Maybinto San Diego in November 2009 and had failed to develop as anything more than a middle reliever with the Marlins. The 28 year old was 0-3 with a 4.38 ERA this year in 39.0 innings of work, partly due to a dip in his strikeout rate.
It’s unclear what the Cardinals are expecting by acquiring Mujica, who doesn’t necessarily appear as someone who could make the difference in their chase of the Pirates and Reds in the NL Central. Last year it was the Cardinals’ mid-summer acquisitions that proved vital in their postseason success.
Cox was a relatively steep price to pay, despite a down year that has caused his stock to fall. The former 1st Round pick (2010, #25 overall) has struggled at the plate in his first season at Triple-A, batting just .254/.294/.421 in 316 plate appearances. Cox was ranked by Baseball America as the #88 prospect entering the season and he could conceivably play a big piece in the Marlins future given their opening at third base after the Hanley Ramirez trade last week.
In the short term this move won’t have an impact on the Nationals, but if Cox is capable of developing into the #3 hitter that he’s been talked about being then it could play a big factor in this rivalry for years to come. Time will tell us how this move plays out.