Rockies Sign One-Time Venezuelan Phenom Mujica to Contract
Signed by the Rays for a $1 million bonus at the age of 16, Jose Mujica was considered the top prospect out of Latin America back in 2012. On the verge of making it to the big leagues in 2018, however, he suffered an elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery, and wound up with him sitting out the 2019 season.
Mujica, however, is planning to be back in 2020 -- with the Rockies. The Rockies announced the signing of the right-hander on Wednesday. With the Rays having not used an option on Mujica until 2018, the righthander should have three remaining options, giving the Rockies flexibility in 2020 on Mujica, if they decide he is not ready to be in the big-league level yet.
The 23-year-old right-hander opened the 2018 season at Triple-A Durham and was 5-1 with a 2.70 ERA, striking out 34 while walking 10 in 36 innings over sevne starts.
Mujica initially signed after working in an academy operated by former big league shortstop Carlos Guillen. In addition to the Rays, the Dodgers, Red Sox and Diamondbacks made strong efforts to sign Mujica in 2012.
The scouting report on him read, "He throws strikes to both sides of the plate with a fastball that has peaked at 93 mph. His fastball has late, heavy life, and he could reach the mid-90s. Mujica's best secondary pitch is his changeup, which shows good sink and could be an above-average pitch. He sells the pitch well with his arm speed and throws it to both lefties and righties."
To make room for Mujica, the Rockies designated right-handed pitcher Wes Parsons, a waiver claim from the Braves last August. Parsons appeared in 15 games for the Rockies, compiling a 6.98 ERA.