MLB free agency: Cubs sign former Pirates starter Trevor Williams

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Tim Stebbins
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Cubs add rotation depth, sign former Pirates starter Williams originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Cubs added a starting pitcher on Saturday, agreeing to a one-year, big league contract with Trevor Williams, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago. The deal is worth $2.5 million.

Williams, 29 in April, has spent his entire career with the Pirates, debuting in 2016. In five seasons, the right-hander holds a career 4.43 ERA in 106 games (94 starts).

The Pirates designated Williams for assignment in November following a down 2020 season (6.18 ERA, 1.572 WHIP in 11 starts). He had a career year as recently as 2018, when he posted a 3.11 ERA and 1.178 WHIP in 31 starts.

The Cubs have been searching for starting pitching depth for a rotation that projects to include Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies, Adbert Alzolay and Alec Mills. They recently signed Shelby Miller (minor league deal) and Kohl Stewart (major league deal) and have been linked to Jake Arrieta and Jeff Samardzija, among others.

Williams figures to compete for a rotation job this spring, but the Cubs will likely need more than five starters in 2021 to cover the innings increase from the shortened 2020 season. The Cubs still plan to add at least one more big league starter.

RELATED: If Cubs are buying, here are 10 potential free agent pitching targets

They also have prospects Tyson Miller, Cory Abbott, Justin Steele and Brailyn Marquez in the pipeline to contribute to the pitching staff in some capacity.

Gordon Wittenmyer contributed to this report.

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