In a surprise move, the New York Mets have signed free agent center fielder Kevin Pillar to a one-year, $5 million deal with a second year option. The deal comes about a week after the team already signed Albert Almora, another right-handed center fielder.
Andy Martino at SNY first broke news of the signing.
Mets are in agreement on a deal with Kevin Pillar pending physical, sources tell SNY. @JonHeyman first reported talks.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) February 16, 2021
An eight-year veteran, Pillar, 32, spent his first six seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays before jumping around to the San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox and most recently the Colorado Rockies. Like Almora, he profiles as a below average hitter, slashing .262/.299/.408 with an 89 OPS+. That said, he is coming off a 2020 season that saw him go .288/.336/.462 with a 107 OPS+.
Pillar’s defense has been his main selling point, though, in recent years he has seen diminishing returns in center. After recording 53 DRS in center from 2013-17, he has put up negative totals each year since. As a result, he has seen increased play in right field, putting up 3 DRS since 2019.
Since Almora was already brought on to be a defense-first, right-handed platoon bat to compliment lefty Brandon Nimmo, Pillar will likely be a utility player/depth piece. Michael Conforto is locked in right field and has great splits against lefties, making it unlikely Pillar platoons there.
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