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An ode to Trevor Williams

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Pittsburgh Pirates v San Francisco Giants Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images

I mean this in the most positive connotation: In many ways, Trevor Williams was the living embodiment of a meme for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was humorous, silly, hopeful, and a generally positive person on social media, and presumably in the clubhouse of PNC Park.

On Friday, the Pirates designated both Williams and Jose Osuna for assignment, expediting the free agency process for those two in lieu of the Pirates tendering either of them a contract.

This doesn’t come as much of a surprise. In 2017 and 2018, it looked as though Williams might become an important part of the Pirates’ rotation, but he regressed in 2019 and especially 2020. Over the last season, Williams posted a 6.18 ERA and 6.30 FIP. Many of us liked Williams, but I suspect many of us knew this move was coming. With no movement on the trade front, it was likely that a situation would prevail in which Williams was forced to walk.

Off the field, there are a couple things I’d like to point to, like this article from Stephen J. Nesbitt at The Athletic outlining the Williams family and their newest additions. I would also be remiss not to mention Williams’ podcast with co-host and co-pitcher Steven Brault, IMHO, where the duo rank all kinds of things, and occasionally bring in a guest from the organization.

On the field, let’s not forget about Williams’ second half of 2018 in which he posted a 1.29 ERA, with a 0.35 HR/9, and 92 percent of runner left on base. In some ways, this looked as though it could be Williams taking the next step and proceeding to the next level of his career. In 2019, however, production dipped to his worst full season levels of his career. The hope was that his regression was due mostly to an injury, but 2020 didn’t give the organization much of a reason to bring Williams back, especially in their state of rebuilding.

I’ve alluded to this type of disappointment in past articles: When fans are forced to wave goodbye to players they’ve grown to appreciate and enjoy. Many probably saw Williams jump up their favorite player list after his embrace with his father at PNC Park after his debut against the Cincinnati Reds.

My wife is a fan in passing. She enjoys going to games and receives information about the organization and roster via my “news alerts.” That also means I’m in charge of telling her when her favorite player is on his way out. On Friday night, I had to do that. She becomes disillusioned with the process — not because she doesn’t understand, but because she’d like to see her favorite player and team have success with one another, just like the rest of us. The Pirates don’t seem to do that.

All that to say, we should collectively tip our cap to Williams for his service in Pittsburgh and wish him well.