St. Louis Cardinals: Grading the Redbirds' Trade for Edward Mujica

Adam Spencer@AdamSpencer4Correspondent IAugust 1, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 6:  Edward Mujica #34 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on May 6, 2012 in San Diego, California. The Marlins won 6-3.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The St. Louis Cardinals acquired reliever Edward Mujica from the Miami Marlins right before the 4:00 pm EST MLB Trade Deadline on July 31.

To get Mujica, the Cardinals had to give up Triple-A third baseman and former first-round pick Zack Cox.

Mujica brings a 4.38 ERA, two saves and 26 strikeouts over 39 innings pitched with him to St. Louis.

The Cardinals certainly needed bullpen help, but they probably could have done better than Mujica.

With players like Matt Adams, Cox and Steven Hill at Memphis, there are plenty of packages the team could have put together to get a solid reliever like Rafael Betancourt of the Colorado Rockies or Heath Bell of the Marlins.

Either of those players probably would have more success in St. Louis than Mujica will.

Mujica gives up too many home runs to be much of an improvement in an already homer-prone Cardinals bullpen.

He’s given up six home runs, has allowed 19 runs and already has blown four saves. Is that really going to be much of an improvement over Fernando Salas and Marc Rzepczynski?

On the other end of the deal, it was probably too soon to give up on Zack Cox.

The former Arkansas standout was struggling, sure, but it was his first full season at the Triple-A level.

He was hitting .254 with nine home runs and 30 RBI for the Memphis club. That’s not great, but it’s not terrible for a 23-year-old.

He was also struggling in the field, committing 13 errors in 77 games at third base.

But, once again, it seems too early to give up on him. The team should have tried him at either first base or in the outfield. Or, maybe they should have had him do some work with Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo this offseason.

Cox was certainly talented, but the Cardinals didn’t give him much of a chance to realize his potential in their organization. Trading him to the Marlins for a fraction of his worth appears to be a panic move from general manager John Mozeliak.

We’ll see how Mujica performs in the Cardinals' bullpen, but right now, this looks like a bad trade for St. Louis.

Overall Grade: C-