Despite not yet throwing a major league pitch, the Mets gave McWilliams a major league deal.
The first signing of the Steve Cohen era came before any major front office hiring, as the Mets signed 6’7” right hander Sam McWilliams in free agency. Mets team president Sandy Alderson discussed multiple times in his re-introduction presser that the Mets’ depth was lacking, and McWilliams is the first step in amending that.
McWilliams, 25, is a rather interesting player to give a major league contract to. Drafted by the Phillies in 2014, he bounced from Philadephia’s system to the Diamondbacks, then to the Rays, and has now landed with the Mets. He’s garnered a very respectable 3.85 ERA in 104 minor league games (94 starts), and that is including his recent struggled—he limped to a 5.02 ERA in 2018 at Double-A. He started 2019 back at Double-A, had a 2.05 ERA in 11 games, and got the call to Triple-A, where he earned a 8.18 ERA for his troubles.
The reason why this is an interesting player to give a full major league deal to is that he has never thrown a single pitch in the big leagues. He was on the Rays taxi squad for all of 2020, but never got the call to the main roster.
Reading between the lines, it can be assumed that he was sought after and this was a way for the Mets to convince him to sign with them over other teams. Regardless, he will serve as valuable depth in 2021, in a spot where the Mets sorely need it.