Red Sox should look to re-sign Kevin Pillar this winter
Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox have a lot of things that they need to address this winter if they’re to be competitive in 2021. We all know that pitching is the biggest piece of the puzzle and will command most of the front office’s time, but other vacancies shouldn’t be ignored. One of Boston’s soon to be free agents is Jackie Bradley Jr. and there doesn’t seem to be a solid plan to replace him, enter Kevin Pillar.
That’s right, Red Sox Nation! The man, the myth, the legend, and a guy that I think we all loved watching play during his short stint with the team. Pillar will once again be a free agent when this winter hits and much like last year, he may not move quickly off the board. Not for a lack of talent or ability, but the market for an aging outfielder isn’t a very active one. This could mean big things for the Red Sox and a possible return to Beantown for the centerfielder.
The biggest whispers coming out of Fenway Park are that the owners are going to push for big expenditures this winter to re-ignite fan interest in 2021. That means splashing the cash on names like Trevor Bauer and George Springer. While it wouldn’t be weird for the Red Sox to drop some money on free agents to spark the team, it hasn’t always ended well.
While I’m all for Bauer coming to town as we desperately need starting pitching, I can’t get on the Springer train. Yeah, his offensive skills would be a great addition but his price tag makes me very wary of the signing. Which brings me back to the man we’re here to talk about, Big Kev.
He joined the team in February and quickly became ingrained in the fabric of the organization. It didn’t take long at all to see him bonding with his teammates as if he’d been playing with them for years. Let’s just take a look at his first real game in a Red Sox uniform, the guy raced down a deep fly, leaped into the year, and made the catch while crashing into the bullpen wall. Throughout his time with the squad in 2020, it felt like he was making a catch like that every damn night.
Pillar’s defense is off the charts and rivals JBJ’s in the outfield, making him a perfect replacement if the Boston veteran were to go elsewhere. Add in the fact that he can play all three outfield positions, and he’s a massive asset to the next manager.
During his time with the Sox, he posted a .274/.325/.470/.795 line with 4 homers and 13 RBI, while he ended the year in Colorado with a .308/.351/.451/.801 slash, adding another pair of homers and 13 more RBI. His final tally on the year was an impressive .288/.336/.462/.798, marking one of his best seasons to date.
Though he only spent two months with the Red Sox just imagine what he could do with a full 162 under his belt? He’s already familiar with the organization and his teammates and it would be an easy transition for both sides. Due to his strong year, I could see his salary increasing a bit but it wouldn’t be anywhere in the neighborhood of JBJ or Springer. A cool 3-year/$15M deal would be a win-win for both sides. It gets Pillar some job security while giving the Red Sox more time to groom Jarren Duran to be called up to the Majors.
As much as I love me some Jackie Bradley Jr., I just can’t see him returning after this winter. The team has been attempting to trade him for years and I don’t see the two coming to terms on a new contract. This makes the chance of Pillar returning even better as again he would command less money and is more versatile than JBJ.
If Pillar brought back then Alex Verdugo can be moved to his more natural position of centerfield and Pillar can take over in right field. When Duran is eventually called up then the outfield can be shuffled again but Pillar and Verdugo are more than capable of making it work. The main message I’m trying to get across here is that Pillar is a fantastic player who can add to Boston’s offense, strengthen their defense, and not break the bank.
When all is said and done the Red Sox need to put most of their attention on fixing the pitching staff. There’s plenty of money to be spent and some big names that can be signed, but Chaim Bloom also needs to focus on the rest of the lineup. With it feeling like JBJ has one foot out the door, bringing back Kevin Pillar would be big not only for the team but for the fanbase. He’d be welcomed back by both the organization and Red Sox Nation with open arms. Basically what I;m saying is, Chaim, get it done!