Blue Jays: Is Kevin Pillar the next domino to fall to clear the outfield clutter?
The Toronto Blue Jays have quite a bit of clutter in the outfield currently with the likes of Curtis Granderson, Steve Pearce, Ezequiel Carrera, Kevin Pillar, and Randal Grichuk all worthy of a spot on the Blue Jays roster.
However, with a strong young crop in Buffalo, the rumours that there still may be an outfielder added to the roster, and the clutter in the outfield, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin Pillar is the domino to fall to clear the clutter in the outfield.
Kevin Pillar has been super exciting to watch in the field over the last few years with some incredible catches. His heroics in the outfield have earned him the nickname of “Superman” and is a hit with younger Blue Jays fans who wear a cape around the Rogers Centre. Despite the fanfare and glory in the outfield with his glove, the fans are getting quite frustrated with Kevin Pillar at the plate.
For his career, Pillar is a .264/.302/.390 hitter with a 4.5 BB%, 15.8 K%, .300 wOBA, and 85 wRC+. Pillar has never reached above the league average of 100 in the wRC+ department in his career. He doesn’t have a good approach at the plate at all and is consistently a liability offensively save for the first 1.5 months of the season in 2017.
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The addition of Randal Grichuk got people questioning whether or not Pillar could be on the block due to the fact that Grichuk and Pillar are fairly comparable in the outfield. In 2017, Pillar covered 27.9 ft/sec. Grichuk was just .1 behind Pillar at 27.8 ft/sec. Grichuk could slide over into center field if Pillar was dangled in a trade.
Why trade Kevin Pillar? He’s shown that he is not very good offensively and he’s about to get some raises over the next few seasons. He’s getting $3.25 million in 2018, which is fine when considering the defense he will bring, despite having a down year in the field. The other reason is the clutter that exists in the outfield with potentially much better options sneaking up behind him.
Steve Pearce and Curtis Granderson seem set to be a nice platoon in left field and both are free agents at seasons end. With Pillar and Grichuk set in center and right as of now, the likes of Anthony Alford, Dalton Pompey, and Teoscar Hernandez are likely to begin the year in Buffalo. Alford is the likeliest to come up and be able to produce on an everyday basis and based on his skillset, can be potentially a better defender than Pillar and a much better hitter. Anthony Alford could force the Blue Jays hand and make them bring him north to start 2018, but that won’t happen without a hole in the outfield.
If you can trade Kevin Pillar and attach a prospect or two with him for pitching help, it’s a deal you have to make. If Alford doesn’t show enough to win a job, Grichuk can open as the everyday centerfielder with Teoscar Hernandez in right, Pearce, and Granderson in left. When Alford forces their hand, he’s up and the outfield gets juggled again.
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It seems unlikely that Pillar will be moved, but I would not be surprised if the Blue Jays are actively shopping him in an effort to get starting pitching via trade. If any moves are made to clear up the outfield clutter, Kevin Pillar will be out the door.