The Washington Nationals have finally struck in the pitching department this free agency period, signing former New York Mets’ RHP Trevor Williams to a two year, $13 Million dollar deal, per Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports. It is the first time the Nationals have given out a multi-year contract to a free agent since Will Harris signed a 3 year deal with the club prior to the 2020 season.
Williams will be entering his age 31 season in 2023, but is coming off a highly productive season for the Mets in which he sported a 3.21 ERA across 89.2 Innings, also making 9 starts in his 30 appearances. A former starter with the Pirates and Cubs earlier in his career, the Mets converted Williams to a reliever with great success. In his two seasons in Queens, Williams achieved a career low in walk percentage (6.2%) and Exit Velocity Allowed (85 MPH) with a near career high in strikeout percentage (22.6%). While he definitely performed better as a reliever, he was able to make 9 spot starts for the Mets last season when they had starters get injured or needed innings eaten.
Mike Rizzo and the Nationals have mentioned several times throughout the Winter that Starting Pitching was their primary focus, so it seems as though Williams will be the #5 starter. If he performs well in that role, you’re getting a valuable commodity for only $6.5M AAV, which is much cheaper than the going rate for starting pitching we’ve seen this offseason. However, even if Williams is more suited to be a reliever at this point in his career, $6.5M AAV for a long-reliever and spot starter is a fine price to pay. All in all, a good signing for the Nationals.
The Nationals may not be done adding arms, either, as it is reported they have maintained interest in both Jordan Lyles and Seth Lugo. We’ll see if the Williams signing changes anything, but it would be nice to see them add a few arms to the staff and have more chess pieces to utilize between rotation and bullpen.