Kevin Pillar: His Role With the New York Mets

Kevin Pillar

The New York Mets seemed to be in on just about every center fielder this off-season, but they settled on Kevin Pillar.

His contract is $5 million guaranteed and could possibly become a two-year deal worth over $10 million. The 32-year-old center fielder played parts of seven seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. He has gone on to play for three teams in the past two years.

Known more for his tremendous glove, Pillar is a lifetime .262 hitter. However, he batted a career-high .288 in 2020 and has hit as many as 21 home runs and 37 doubles in a season. Pillar also has terrific speed and has made several highlight-reel catches. He also has pretty good speed and is capable of stealing a base in a big spot.

Role With Mets

It seems as if Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Pillar will platoon in center field while Dominic Smith and Michael Conforto will man the corners. The likelihood will be that Nimmo starts against a right-hander and Pillar plays against a lefty.

On days where Pillar does not start, he will likely come in for defense late in games. That gives the Mets plenty of options as they can shift Nimmo to left field and either take out Smith or move him to first base.

The Mets also have Albert Amora Jr. on their roster. The former Chicago Cubs‘ outfielder still has one minor league option left. He is coming off a rough season last year where he hit .167 but has hit over .275 in three of his five MLB seasons as a part-time player.

If Almora is not on the rosterJose Martinez is also an option, but the veteran played most of last season as a designated hitter and has not played the outfield since 2019, But he could find himself in the lineup against lefties similar to Pillar.

With the addition of Pillar, the Mets designated Guillermo Heredia for assignment. He was recently picked up by the Atlanta Braves.

Lineup Configuration

It will also be very interesting to see how manager Luis Rojas plans to set his lineup. Nimmo has seen plenty of time as a leadoff hitter with his high on-base percentage.

With the platoon, though, Pillar will likely find himself at the bottom of the order, so it will be interesting to see if someone like Francisco Lindor or Jeff McNeil gets the nod as the leadoff hitter all year.

The Mets have a very deep middle of the order with Pete Alonso, Conforto, Smith, and J.D. Davis. Unlike many years, New York has not had a set lineup though with a platoon in center field this season, both Nimmo and Pillar could provide the Mets with some stability at the bottom of the order along with James McCann.

While there are roughly six weeks to the start of the MLB season, New York can still possibly add another bat. The likelihood is the Mets look to add depth to their starting rotation as they now have added Pillar, Almora, and Martinez to an outfield that has been a heavily discussed topic this offseason.

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