The Cubs have been connected to a number of buy-low veteran starters lately and they may still pursue at least one of them, but it appears they’ve gone somewhat off the board with their latest pitching move. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, former Pirates righty Trevor Williams has reached a deal with the Cubs, pending a physical.
Source: Former Pirates starter Trevor Williams has agreed to a major league deal with the Cubs, pending physical. Had offers from multiple teams, deal will likely include some deferred money.
— Evan Altman (@DEvanAltman) January 30, 2021
Williams turned down multiple offers — sources say the Mets, Angels, and Rangers all had interest — in order to join the Cubs, with whom he’s very familiar from his time in Pittsburgh. The deal is for $2.5 million and may include some deferred money, but official word may not come for several days yet.
The 44th overall pick in 2013, Williams made his MLB debut in 2016 and broke out in 2018 with a 3.11 ERA over 31 starts. Since then, however, he’s fallen on pretty hard times. His ERA ballooned to 5.38 in 2019 and was at 6.18 last season, hence the DFA.
His four-seam and slider have been destroyed over the past two seasons, but his sinker has remained solid and his curve was excellent in 2020. Maybe a little work in the pitch lab can tighten things up. If that happens, the Cubs could take advantage of Williams being arbitration-eligible for 2022. More to come as the situation develops, just remember that we beat ESPN on this one.
Update: Interestingly enough, the Cubs do have some connections to Williams that make this almost as much of a homecoming story as some of the other veterans they’ve scouted lately. According to a source, the Cubs had scouted Williams during his junior year at Arizona State. And not just area guys, but at least one of their front office bigwigs. They ended up taking Rob Zastryzny with the No. 41 overall pick, just three spots ahead of where the Marlins took Williams.
What’s more Williams’ dad, Richard, grew up in Chicago as a Cubs fan and tweeted Saturday night that the news of his son playing for the Cubs is a dream come true. Very cool. The idea of Williams turning down other offers to join the Cubs makes even more sense now.
I was born and raised in Chicago. Watched Ernie Banks hit is 500th HR in May of 1970. I worked 4 summers as an usher at Wrigley. This is a dream. Wake me up. This pic was at Wrigley in 2018. It was so cold that night. I am warm tonight. pic.twitter.com/kzpV7hWXAQ
— RICHARD WILLIAMS (@SDRICH7777) January 31, 2021