Andrés Muñoz pitched in just one major league game during the 2021 season, which was the season finale against the Angels. He recorded two outs while firing 17 pitches.
But those 17 pitches featured fastballs averaging 99 mph and touching 101 mph multiple times, showing that he’s fully recovering from Tommy John surgery, while offering a glimpse of his obvious potential for future success. It also helped earn him a contract extension with the Mariners.
Early Wednesday morning, the Mariners announced they had signed the hard-throwing reliever to a four-year contract extension that also includes individual club options for the 2026, 2027 and 2028 seasons. Per reports, Muñoz will earn a total of $7.5 million over those four years — a $1.875 million average annual value — which makes the deal incredibly economical for the Mariners if he performs anywhere near expectations.
“We’re confident in his present health,” Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said Wednesday. “We love his physical stuff. We’ve gotten to know Andrés, he’s a wonderful young guy. He’s very sharp and he was awesome with our people in Peoria and the way he worked. We felt confident that that he was going to take that next step in achieving his potential.”
Muñoz, 22, was set to make the MLB minimum of just over $500,000 in 2022 and would have been arbitration eligible for the 2023 season. Instead, this new deal buys out his three arbitration years and possibly his first three years of free agency.
“We bought out the years that would otherwise have been his arbitration years and we got club options that allowed us to go back and grab those two years that were missed,” Dipoto said. “It keeps Andrés here in Seattle for the foreseeable future and we can tap into what we think is his extreme upside. It’s very reasonable risk for the potential reward on the other side, and I think it was the right thing to do for Andrés at this stage in his career, where he’s been. It was a good move for him to secure that kind of payday for he and his family.”
Muñoz was acquired by the Mariners along with infielder Ty France, catcher Luis Torrens and outfielder Taylor Trammell from the San Diego Padres in exchange for relievers Austin Adams and Dan Altavilla and catcher Austin Nola on Aug. 31, 2020.
At the time of the trade, Muñoz was recovering from the March 20 Tommy John surgery on his elbow.
The Padres signed him as an international free agent out of Mexico on July 7, 2015 at age 16. He made his MLB debut with the Padres on July 12, 2019, vs. Atlanta at age 20. He appeared in 22 games in the 2019 season, posting a 1-1 record with a 3.91 ERA. In 23 innings pitched, he struck out 30 batters with 11 walks.