SAN FRANCISCO — The lobby of the hotel that hosts MLB’s annual Winter Meetings is filled with men in their 20s looking for jobs with a big league organization. Last month in Orlando, a 33-year-old stood alongside a lobby coffee shop and looked out at the crowd. He, too, was starting life in a front office, so he would fit right in with much of the crowd, except for one small detail: He once hit a homer off of Clayton Kershaw.
Brett Pill, a former Giant, attended the Winter Meetings in a new role. He serves as a scout for the Kia Tigers, the South Korean team that took advantage of his power for three seasons. Pill is still young enough to take his swings, but he move on from his playing days after spending time with the Detroit Tigers last spring.
“I don’t know what it was, I just didn’t have that fire to grind through the minor leagues again,” Pill said. “Everybody knows the minor leagues is a tough time, and we’ve got two little kids.”
The family's children were born overseas, while Pill played three big years in the KBO. He hit 61 homers in 367 games, batting .316 with a .521 slugging percentage. Pill spent the prior three seasons in San Francisco, hitting nine homers in 240 scattered at-bats. He broke into the big leagues at a time when the Giants had Aubrey Huff at first base, Brandon Belt fighting for an everyday job, and Buster Posey occasionally moving over from catcher.
Pill was this week’s guest on the Giants Insider Podcast, and he said the role change in South Korea helped him take off.
“When I was in San Francisco it was tough for me to get in a groove in the major leagues because I felt like I was the type of guy that had to play every day to be successful,” Pill said. “Going over there gave me a chance to play every day so I could use those prime years and get something out of them.”