Rich Hill had a shot to help lead the New York Mets pitching staff to victory. Javier Baez was the bat the club added to kickstart the offense. Trevor Williams was the throw-in immediately assigned to the minor leagues.
A little more than a month after the 2021 trade deadline, things haven’t gone as expected.
Hill has been mostly mediocre in his tenure in Flushing while Baez has caused more controversy with his thumbs than anything else. Williams, meanwhile, in a pair of relief appearances and starts has given up just a single earned run in his first 13 Mets innings of work.
How is it that Trevor Williams was the Mets prize at the trade deadline?
This isn’t one of those cases where we’re comparing Williams to two guys who simply stink. Hill and Baez’s numbers are comparable to each other. Each has underperformed to their expectations and what the team really needed.
Williams arrived with very little fanfare, if any at all. He was a middling starter for the Chicago Cubs with a 5.06 ERA on the year. Nobody thought he could be anything more than a long man out of the bullpen or emergency starter.
This is precisely how the Mets have used him but with much better results. He has started in a pair of doubleheaders, going 4.1 innings both times. The Mets would go on to win each of the seven inning games. His two relief appearances included a total of 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. Sadly, both were in losses.
Williams wasn’t supposed to be a difference-maker. In a baker’s dozen frames, he has been just that.
Trevor Williams is making a case to come back in 2022
Williams is arbitration-eligible for another year and probably won’t earn much more than the $2.5 million he’s taking home this season. Incredibly affordable, he’s the kind of guy that can answer the question to what the team does about starting pitching depth.
Certainly a candidate for the bullpen next year, the team could always pivot and have him stretched out in Triple-A awaiting a call to the big leagues whenever needed. Williams still has minor league options remaining. This shouldn’t be overlooked when the team assesses whether or not he should be a part of the roster moving forward.
It’s hardly enough innings for anyone to be too thrilled about what Williams has done and I acknowledge that. But for the distantly third-ranked player added at the trade deadline, it’s kind of noteworthy just how effective he has been for the role he plays.
The Mets did a wonderful job building their bullpen this offseason. Every decision they made, from not dumping Jeurys Familia to tendering a contract to Miguel Castro, paid off. The Williams decision, while minor compared to others on the offseason docket, is one to watch.
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If you ask me, he’ll need to implode to change his fate as a Met in 2022.