Muñoz, Mariners near 4-year pact (sources)

Muñoz, Mariners near 4-year pact (sources)

7:src1 AM UTC

SEATTLE — The Mariners are finalizing a four-year Major League contract with reliever Andres Muñoz worth at least $7.5 million, multiple sources told on Tuesday night.

The deal will buy out all of Muñoz’s arbitration-eligible years, which run through 2src25, and there are three years of club options that the Mariners can exercise after. Essentially, it gives the 22-year-old reliever financial security coming off Tommy John surgery but also gives the Mariners flexibility to retain him if he blossoms like they expect him to.

Muñoz was acquired from the Padres ahead of the 2src2src Trade Deadline as one of the key returns in the seven-player deal that also netted Ty France, Taylor Trammell and Luis Torrens. He had undergone surgery that March, which basically indicated that the Mariners were banking on him making a full recovery and returning to the elite form he’d shown before the injury. Muñoz was hitting as high as 1src4 mph.

The Mexico native worked all the way back to a full recovery last season and made his Mariners debut in the final game of the regular season, throwing a forgettable two outs of a sixth inning in a 7-3 loss to the Angels. But by the point that the right-hander entered the game, it was mostly out of reach.

The Mariners view Muñoz as one of the key cogs to a bullpen that last year was one of the best in the American League, ranking fourth in the Majors with 7.src wins above replacement, per FanGraphs. And he’s not the only reliever that they are banking on coming back from Tommy John; All-Star Ken Giles, who in February signed a two-year deal with a club option for 2src23, is fully healthy and will be a big part of a relief corps that already includes Paul Sewald, Drew Steckenrider and more.

Muñoz got his first taste of big league action in 2src19 with the Padres, compiling a 3.91 ERA over 23 innings with 3src strikeouts, 11 walks and two homers allowed.

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