We are nearing the turn of the calendar and the Toronto Blue Jays are still in desperate need of a centerfielder, so my question to you is simply this, if not Kevin Pilla then who?
I realize Blue Jays fans have a love-hate relationship with Pillar and the comment section will undoubtedly be filled with vile and venom toward this idea, however, defensively Pillar can get the job done and solidify the outfield defence.
Yes, I realize his defensive metrics have dipped over the years but regardless, what better option is out there? The Jays aren’t signing Marcell Ozuna or Nick Castellanos and neither are centerfielders at this stage of their career, so don’t @ me with those two names.
I agree, there will be stretches where Pillar can’t hit water if he fell out of a boat and yes, there will be periods where he chases three consecutive pitches out of the zone with runners on-base. I am aware of the faults but I still feel better going into Opening Day with Pillar as my centerfielder than where we stand currently.
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The Blue Jays cannot go another campaign with Randal Grichuk or Teoscar Hernandez patrolling centerfield and internally the likes of Jonathan Davis and Anthony Alford probably won’t produce enough offensively to justify their existence in the lineup on a day to day basis.
At the beginning of December, former Sportsnet reporter Barry Davis ran a Twitter poll on whether or not the Blue Jays should bring Pillar back for a reunion tour in 2020. The poll garnered 627 votes with only 31% of the fan base absolutely in favour of his return, however, a number of outfielders have come off the free-agent board since that poll was run changing the overall complexion of the remaining available players.
Following the trade to San Francisco, the 30-year old hit .264/.293/.442 with 21 homers and 14 stolen bases with a 1.4 WAR in 156 games for the Giants. Remember, he even finagled an MVP vote finishing 22nd in NL MVP voting. Pillar earned $5.8 million last season and was projected to earn in the neighborhood of $9 million in 2020 leading to the Giants non-tendering him.
You cannot dispute his work ethic, Pillar shows up every day whether he is banged up or not and he would run through a wall at full speed to catch a ball regardless of the score or where his team is in the standings.
So if not Pillar then who, Billy Hamilton is available and has even worse plate discipline. Sometimes the devil you know is worse than the one you don’t. I am all for bringing Pillar back on a one-year deal with an option for 2021, just as long as I don’t have to watch the Teoscar circus in centerfield ever again.