New York Mets: Who is Sam McWilliams, and why did the team push so hard for him?

New York Mets

The New York Mets had to fend off the advances of multiple teams to snag right-handed pitcher Sam McWilliams, who put pen to paper on a one-year, $750,000 contract. Although the hurler still hasn’t played in MLB, the contract is of the major league variety, which means that McWilliams will occupy a spot in the Mets’ 40-man roster.

McWilliams is very tall (6-foot-7) and that extension from the mound towards the batter’s box creates lots of problems for opposing batters. The righty’s last organization was the Tampa Bay Rays, who are very adept at developing young pitching. He was in their 60-man player pool this past season but remained at their alternate site.

Only 25 years old, McWilliams has mostly been a starter in the minor leagues to this point of his career, but Tim Healey of Newsday reports that the New York Mets will likely use him as a reliever. And that’s a role in which he should thrive.

Why did the Mets want him so bad?

The Mets, as it happens with virtually any team at this stage of the offseason, are in dire need of reliable relief pitching. Now, we wouldn’t call a guy that has been a starter his whole career a “reliable reliever”, but every indication points out to McWilliams thriving in that role.

Healey reports that McWilliams features “a fastball touching 99 mph, a high-spin slider and a changeup.”

Per Healey, he “comes with all of the team-control rights of a player who came up through the Mets’ own farm system, including three years in which he can be optioned to and called up from the minors and six total major-league seasons of team control. His 2021 salary, if he is in the majors, is $750,000, according to multiple reports.”

McWilliams drew offers from a whopping 15 teams, according to sources. Teams wanted him, as it is very easy to see his potential.

He is tall, he has excellent stuff, and he could shine in short spurts while pitching out of the bullpen. It could be a worthy gamble for the Mets.

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