What Does the Kevin Pillar Signing Mean for the Red Sox?
Sep 26, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Kevin Pillar (1) dives into third base after hitting a triple in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Wednesday that the Red Sox have signed outfielder Kevin Pillar to a one-year, major league deal.
Outfielder Kevin Pillar will sign a one-year Major League contract with the #Redsox and join the team for tneir first full-squad workout
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 12, 2020
With one of the main reasons to sign another outfielder being the loss of Mookie Betts, Pillar brings great defense and a right-handed bat to Boston. With Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and newcomer Alex Verdugo all hitting from the left side, Pillar brings a change of pace for opposing pitchers.
People are also drawing conclusions that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. could be on the move, switching one poorly offensive hitter for a cheaper option. While the organization’s recent transactions could help draw these conclusions, it is all merely speculation at this point in time. The team has not expressed interest in trading the gold glove winner. Simply put, with Mookie out of the mix, the defense will definitely take a hit in right field, Pillar will definitely help boost the team in that category.
Kevin Pillar’s stats have not always shown an offensive prowess. The career .261 hitter has only 76 homers and 318 runs batted in during his seven-year career. He has appeared in 3,062 games during that span.
Dumping the salaries of Betts and David Price (well, half of his deal) in the Dodgers trade dropped the Red Sox south of the $208 million luxury tax threshold by a bit less than $10 million. They should be able to bring Pillar aboard while maintaining ownership’s preference to remain south of that cutoff.
Part of Boston’s motivation in trading Betts and David Price was getting financial flexibility for 2020 and beyond — and Pillar represents their first purchase with that newfound flexibility. The deal, of course, would be pending a physical. Everybody in Boston is aware of that these days following the six-day medical hold-up in the Betts trade.
With Spring Training just around the corner, it is finally time to forget about this offseason, and time to fight for another World Series title if you’re the Boston Red Sox.