Mostly forgotten Mets free agent gamble from 2021 signs with the Cubs after success in Mexico

This time it's on a minor league deal.
Mar 1, 2021; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets Sam McWilliams #52 poses during media day at
Mar 1, 2021; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets Sam McWilliams #52 poses during media day at / USA TODAY NETWORK

Remember Sam McWilliams? Well, he’s back and in Chicago Cubs form. The 6’7 righty signed with the Chicago Cubs on a minor league deal. His connection to the New York Mets, almost forgotten, dates back to 2021 when the team took a gamble on him and inked the then-25-year-old hurler to a major league deal despite never actually pitching in the bigs.

McWilliams ended up appearing in just 7 games for Syracuse where he surrendered 10 earned runs in 8.1 innings. Health issues and the obvious inability to get outs led to an early-season DFA.

What has he been up to since and can he finally get to the majors?

Once a Mets free agent gamble, Sam McWilliams finally found success in Mexico

McWilliams finished the 2021 season with the San Diego Padres in Double-A and ended up with the Cincinnati Reds in 2022. His innings total didn’t even get to 40. The performance wasn’t there either. His last lengthy stint in the minors included a 0-5 record and 8.50 ERA in 18 frames for the Reds’ Double-A squad.

Hoping to continue his career, McWilliams’ latest venture had him pitching in the Mexican Pacific Winter League. A 3.55 ERA in 25.1 innings of work was a welcomed turn for a career that looked like it could be over.

McWilliams is still fighting against the odds to get to the majors. His Triple-A numbers with the Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, and San Diego Padres include a 3-10 record and 9.04 ERA. Walks were an issue for him, issuing free passes at a rate of 6.3 per 9 at the minor league’s highest level. At 5 per 9 in Mexico, it hasn’t exactly become a strong suit of his either.

The Cubs have much less to lose than the Mets did back in 2021 when they paid him $750,000 for a couple of minor league relief appearances that didn’t go so well.