The Colorado Rockies have added centerfielder Kevin Pillar and cash from the Boston Red Sox to its ranks. The deal comes as the trade deadline approaches Monday afternoon. The Rockies already traded for Mychal Givens, but there is an arms race in the National League West with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. The Rockies will send international money and an unknown player back to Boston in exchange. Mark Feinsand of MLB Network reported the news Monday afternoon.
The Rockies are acquiring Kevin Pillar and cash from the Red Sox in exchange for a PTBNL and 2019-20 international slot money, per source.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) August 31, 2020
Rockies Acquire Kevin Pillar
Pillar is having one of the best seasons in his career. The 31-year-old is currently hitting .274/.325/.470 with four home runs in 117 plate appearances. His production has translated to a career-best 109 OPS+. Pillar’s strikeout rate is up from 13.8 percent in 2019 to 18.3 percent this year, but he is also walking more. His walk rate has gone from 2.8 percent to 6.3 in 2020.
The most obvious improvement in Pillar’s profile this year is his hard hit percentage. Pillar’s career rate per Statcast is 30.6 percent but that has jumped to 35.1 percent with Boston. His plate discipline has improved with fewer swings at pitches outside of the zone, but he is swinging through slightly more pitches overall. It’s hard to say if this is sustainable but Pillar has produced above his career numbers so far this season.
What This Means for the Future
The Rockies have received very average production from its outfield in 2020. Charlie Blackmon has done very well and gotten support from several others but more is needed. The team’s overall offense rates just 21st in terms of FanGraphs’ WAR with 3.0 and the outfield as a unit is 20th in the league at 1.2 WAR. Adding Pillar means acquiring the second-most productive outfield bat on the Red Sox roster. He also should be fine defensively with 26 games remaining. Every little bit will help with San Diego loading up in recent days and the Dodgers as dominant as usual.
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