The Trevor Williams bandwagon doesn’t have too many seats on it. The long-haired, tattooed pitcher joined the New York Mets last season as the lesser of the two players acquired from the Chicago Cubs. With Javier Baez now gone, he’s all that remains from the deal that sent the Northsiders former first-round draft pick Pete Crow-Armstrong.
Williams has been around the big leagues since 2016. Up until 2021, he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and frequently started for them. However, last season’s arrival to New York signaled a major change.
Williams was used mostly in relief by the Mets with three starts occurring in shortened appearances. He gave the club someone to turn to in doubleheaders when they needed something between an opener and an actual starter. In whatever role it was he pitched in, Williams did quite well. He had a 3.06 ERA in 32.1 innings for the Mets. Surviving the non-tender deadline, he should stick with the team into 2022.
Trevor Williams can be more than a long man for the Mets
Seth Lugo has been one of the more unique relievers in the league. At least, this was the case in 2018 and 2019. Last year we saw a more typical season out of him where he was utilized practically one inning at a time. In 2020, he got his chance to start. It didn’t work out and Lugo looks destined to remain in the bullpen.
Lugo and Williams have had vastly different careers so comparing the two may seem odd.
It is. They should continue to have different roles with the Mets moving forward. However, in a different sort of way, Williams can do some things we have seen Lugo do in the past.
MLB bullpens are evolving and Trevor Williams can be a part of it
Williams’ ability to pitch more than an inning may have older fans screeching at how simple it sounds. I get it. If you grew up watching Tug McGraw or Jesse Orosco get three inning saves, praising a reliever for recording four outs doesn’t seem tip-of-the-cap-worthy.
This is 2022 where relief pitchers have the word FRAGILE printed on them. Overworking them is not in the manager’s manual.
While we should expect Williams to begin the year as the long man for the Mets, what’s to say he can’t grow into a bigger role? The Mets tried something like this in the past with Lugo and Robert Gsellman. Two multi-inning threats certainly appear to be better than one.
Rather than bridge the innings between starter and closer, Williams is the parachute the Mets can call upon in a variety of emergencies. Whether it’s to start a game on short notice and give them three innings or to close things out by going as long as he can in extra innings, they’ll have him available. If last year was any indication as to how he could perform, Williams could also end up being a hero for the team.
The Mets are fortunate to have a few other candidates to take over a more traditional long man role in the bullpen if Williams becomes a greater asset for them in the bullpen. Guys like Sean Reid-Foley or Jordan Yamamoto are two of those options.
Nobody should expect Williams to become one of the most important relievers in the bullpen next season. But if he does, it shouldn’t leave us entirely surprised.