Pillar will be a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, with a chance to make $2.5 million this season if he makes the roster. The 33-year-old could turn into a low-risk, moderate-return for the Dodgers as an outfielder who can field all three positions, and a right-handed bat off the bench.
Pillar played 124 games for the New York Mets last season, hitting 15 home runs and driving in 47 runs. Although he also contributed below average numbers in on-base percentage, walk and strikeout percentage (nothing which is new, honestly), those numbers are respectable for a fourth outfielder or bench player.
Former Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar has a chance to crack another major-league roster after signing a minor-league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers today.
Pillar has been known for his Superman catches in the outfield and being valuable fielder. His best days as an outfielder also seem to be behind him. Last year with the Mets, he posted a -1 in Defensive Runs Saved, compared with 24, 22 and 14 in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively. Overall, Fangraphs gave him a 0.7 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) on the 2021 campaign.
Pillar did put up strong numbers in the Covid-shortened 2020 season, but we also know he has always been a streaky hitter. The 81 strikeouts to 11 walks in 2021 is simply impressive. All that said, Pillar likely can provide some value to the 2020 World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers, should he be able to show that in his shortened Spring Training.
The former Blue Jays favourite will always be known as the guy who climbed the walls at the Rogers Centre. Pillar played nearly 700 games over parts of six seasons for the Blue Jays, as an unlikely success story from deep, deep in the draft class. Here’s to hoping he can find new success in his home state of California in 2022.