Marlins closer Leo Nunez has been the subject of numerous trade rumors as the team contemplates cashing in a good but not great reliever whose value is inflated by his save total.
If they do end up moving Nunez before the July 31 trade deadline manager Jack McKeon told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that Edward Mujica would take over as the new closer.
Mujica, who was acquired from San Diego in November as part of the Cameron Maybin trade, has a 2.85 ERA and 35/5 K/BB ratio in 47 innings for the Marlins after posting a 3.80 ERA and 148/25 K/BB ratio in 163 innings for the Padres.
In three seasons as a closer Nunez has a 3.63 ERA while converting 82 percent of his save chances, which is basically right around the MLB average for ninth-inning save opportunities. Getting a solid prospect or two for him, handing Mujica the gig, and then perhaps dealing Mujica for a solid prospect or two in a couple years would make all kinds of sense for the Marlins.
Create closers out of quality setup man, extract value, repeat.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.
The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.
The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.
Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.
Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.
In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.