Mets sign former Phillies pitching prospect to MLB deal

Sam McWilliams #52 (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Sam McWilliams #52 (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

The Mets have signed former Phillies pitching prospect Sam McWilliams.

As it turns out, perennial All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto would not be the first player formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies organization to sign a deal under new New York Mets owner Steve Cohen.

Rather, such title goes to 25-year-old right-handed pitcher Sam McWilliams. On Friday, the Phillies’ division rivals inked the Orlando, Florida, native to a one-year major-league deal, despite him yet to make his big-league debut.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the $750,000 contract is the largest over the past decade for a player — not coming from Asia — that does not have any Major League service time.

McWilliams has a career 3.85 ERA in the minors and has pitched primarily as a starting pitcher. Listed as 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, he began his professional career with the Phillies in 2014 after being drafted in the eighth round of that year’s amateur draft out of high school.

After two seasons with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2014 and 2015, going a combined 2-5 with 31 strikeouts and 11 walks spanning 58 innings pitched, the Phillies dealt the right-hander to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handed starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.

Since, McWilliams has been with minor-league affiliates of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Royals selected him with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 Rule 5 December draft, but was returned in March after posting a 15.43 ERA spanning four appearances in spring training.

In 2019, McWilliams went 6-3 with a 2.05 ERA in 15 appearances at the Double-A level, but struggled at Triple-A, going 1-6 with an 8.18 ERA in 11 appearances. He was a member of the Rays’ 60-man player pool roster this past season, but did not receive a promotion to the majors.

The Mets seem to be rolling the dice with the former Phillies prospect, who last pitched in the organization five years ago before the Hellickson trade. McWilliams will provide them rotation depth for what is currently scheduled to be a 162-game season.

light. More. Phillies: Phil Gosselin wishes to return with J.T. Realmuto