The New York Mets are looking for defensive help in the outfield, so they turned to veteran Kevin Pillar to provide some depth.
Pillar will likely serve strictly as depth for the Mets in 2021. He doesn’t bring much offensively with a career slash line of .262/.299/.408 and an OPS+ of just 89. To be fair, 2020 was his best offensive season, posting a 107 OPS+. But it’s tough to believe that 54 slightly above average games is truly indicative of what he brings to the plate after seven years of poor hitting.
Pillar makes his money on the defensive end of the field. But heading into his age 32 season, his defense isn’t what it used to be. In 2016, Pillar had 11 OAA in center field. In 2020, he had a -1 in OAA. At this stage in his career, he’s an average defensive outfielder that doesn’t bring anything to the lineup.
The fact of the matter is the Mets don’t really need Pillar. Without the designated hitter in the National League, the Mets can’t afford to take any of their outfield sluggers out of the lineup for Pillar. The only way Pillar will see regular playing time in 2021 is in the case of injury. Outside that, he may get occasional at bats as a late game defensive replacement or when someone needs an off day. But he doesn’t bring nearly enough to the team to receive regular playing time.
The New York Mets would have been better served to pursue George Springer more aggressively. Or at the very least, gone after Jackie Bradley Jr. At least Bradley Jr. is still an elite defender even if he isn’t a force in the lineup.
Instead, they’ll have to make do with Kevin Pillar and hope that their outfield stays healthy enough to keep him on the bench.