By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It won’t make up the gigantic loss of Mookie Betts, but the Red Sox are reportedly close to signing one of the best defensive outfielders in the game: Kevin Pillar.
Boston and the slick-fielding outfielder are reportedly “close” to a deal, as first reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman on Tuesday night. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal later confirmed that report, adding that Pillar’s deal would be a major-league contract if he signs with Boston.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Wednesday morning that Pillar will sign a one-year deal with Boston, and will join the team for their first full-squad workout on Monday.
Pillar is one of the top defensive outfielders in the game, consistently making highlight reel catches that rival those of Jackie Bradley Jr. He’d be a solid depth signing for the Red Sox, as their outfielder is currently made up of a trio of lefties in Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi and newcomer Alex Verdugo, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the Betts trade. Pillar, a righty, would provide Boston with some insurance if Verdugo’s back acts up again, and will allow J.D. Martinez to spend most of his time at DH.
You really don’t need to look to hard to find Pillar highlights. Heck, here is seven minutes of dynamic and jaw-dropping catches:
That reel is a few years old, so here is 6:30 of his highlights form last season with the Giants — with a few big swings in the mix:
Red Sox fans should be familiar with Pillar and his amazing glove, as he spent six seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays before playing most of last season (156 games) for the San Francisco Giants. The 31-year-old is a career .261 hitter, but he had an offensive outburst in 2019, hitting 21 homers and driving in 88 runs — both career-highs. He’s pretty good at Fenway Park, too, carrying a .307 career average in 47 games at the ballpark.
He’s no Mookie Betts, but Pillar would be a quality depth signing for the Red Sox and their lefty-heavy outfield.