The first free agent signing of the Steve Cohen era won’t exactly break the bank, but it provides some clues into how the Mets might operate with new ownership.
The Mets on Friday announced the signing of Sam McWilliams, a 25-year-old right-hander who hasn’t pitched above Triple-A.
The 6-foot-7 McWilliams spent last season on the Rays’ 60-man player pool, but didn’t get called up from Tampa Bay’s alternate site.
Despite his lack of major league experience — and the fact he had an ERA of 8.18 in 44 innings with Triple-A Durham in 2019 — the Mets signed him to a deal worth $750,000, more than the league minimum.
For an organization starved for depth throughout the minors, signing McWilliams is the first indication of how the Mets will invest in lower-level players.
The real test will be how they fare during the rest of the offseason with their pursuit of high-end starting pitching, as well as at catcher and in the outfield.
Free agents Trevor Bauer, DJ LeMahieu, J.T. Realmuto and George Springer all could prove to be targets, especially after the Mets saved $20.25 million with the 162-game suspension of Robinson Cano.
But the Mets need more than stars and they are lacking when it comes to pitching options, so expect more signings like that of McWilliams, who was an eighth-round draft pick of the Phillies in 2014.
The addition of McWilliams gives the Mets 37 players on their 40-man roster.
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