Kevin Pillar is the latest victim in the veteran purge that has recently taken place in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
During the offseason, and now the early season, Toronto has cleansed itself of all the players who were taking up roster spots, and potential playing time for the young core that will carry the Blue Jays into the future.
They released Troy Tulowitzki, then moved on to trading Russell Martin, and then dealing Kendrys Morales, and now by moving Kevin Pillar. Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have shown that they are ready for the new wave of players to come up and help Toronto form a fresh and very talented core.
The Pillar trade was probably the toughest of all the players to be taken out of the Jays roster, knowing how much heart and effort he put into playing the game, and all the memories he gave us. But it wasn’t unexpected. Throughout the offseason, there were always talks about Pillar being on the move, and entering the season Toronto had both Rowdy Tellez, and Anthony Alford in the city in case something were to happen to the lineup.
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With Alford being in Toronto, there was only one real option as to who he was going to replace. Randal Grichuk is 27 years old and has boatloads of potential as a hitter, and Teoscar Hernandez likewise is coming in at 26 years old and will be entering his prime very soon. Pillar entered this season at 30 and doesn’t seem to have much left in the gas tank as far as improvement from what he has already shown.
This is a good thing.
I can’t emphasize enough how good the decisions are that the front office is making. Yes it’s sad, but so was a lot of other players leaving or being traded away. It’s unfortunately the way the business goes in sports.
Not only that, but Toronto baseball culture is a weird thing. The only real way that Jays fans will come out to watch games is if their team is winning a lot, and this year that’s unlikely to happen. We only have a week of the season under our belt and Toronto is already struggling to bring out more than 10,000 fans per game. That’s a big problem.
And how do we win games when our team is underperforming this year? We wait. The best way for Toronto to win, for years and years, is to allow their young talent to develop until they are ready to take the league by storm. But we need to give them playing time.
Prospects and young talent can only develop so far in Triple-A, and when they get called up there’s a chance that they might just spend most of their time sitting on the bench until they are given an opportunity. It appears that Atkins and company were prepared to move nearly everyone who would keep the younger players off the field.
It’s a smart move, and after some time it should be expected to pay off. We just need a little patience.