10 free agents the Red Sox should target when the lockout ends
Red Sox free-agent target – OF Kevin Pillar
One of the few decent players on the infamous 2020 Red Sox team, Kevin Pillar’s value has plummeted after a disastrous 2021 season. He slashed an anemic .231/.277/.415 while having a career-high 23.2% strikeout rate and a career-low 3.2% walk rate. Plate discipline has always been an issue for Pillar, but it now has him on the cusp of being out of the league.
As bad as his 2021 season was, however, Pillar’s previous two seasons should earn him another look. From 2019-2020, Pillar slashed an acceptable .266/.300/.440 with 27 home runs and 19 stolen bases to go along with his usual above-average defense. With his long track record of at least average offense, it’s not unreasonable to chalk up his 2021 season as an anomaly on a wretched Mets team.
With the trade of Hunter Renfroe for Jackie Bradley Jr., the Red Sox are entering the 2021 season with a .497 OPS hitter at center field. Pillar would not only be an immediate offensive upgrade over Bradley Jr., but he is a better career hitter against lefties than Verdugo and can play above-average defense at all three outfield positions. He’s no longer a starting outfielder, but Pillar would be a good backup option if the Red Sox fail to sign one of the bigger free-agent outfielders.