LOS ANGELES -- Farhan Zaidi talked all winter of adding a veteran right-handed bat to the outfield. He had to wait until the season was nearly a week old, but he got one of the players he sought along.
After months of discussions, the Giants on Tuesday morning acquired outfielder Kevin Pillar from the Toronto Blue Jays. The Giants sent Alen Hanson, who was recently designated for assignment, to the Blue Jays, along with pitchers Derek Law and Juan De Paula. The Giants designated outfielder Michael Reed for assignment to make room for Pillar on the roster.
The Giants and Blue Jays first discussed Pillar before the Winter Meetings in December, and getting the deal done now does two things for Zaidi. Pillar had a .708 OPS and 15 homers last season, and while he doesn't have the high on-base percentages the Giants are seeking, he is an offensive upgrade over Reed and fellow newcomer Connor Joe.
But defensively is where Pillar could really make an impact. He could team with Steven Duggar and Gerardo Parra to form one of the best outfield trios in the majors. Pillar is a true center fielder known for highlight plays, and his outfield play has helped him compile nearly 15 Wins Above Replacement in his career. He takes over the role Reed didn't appear ready for, providing another outfielder -- a right-handed one -- who can play center.
The deal did not cost the Giants much. Hanson already had not made the team and Law was DFA'd in February and had little future with the organization, though he was once viewed as a potential closer. De Paula was acquired from the Yankees in the Andrew McCutchen trade last August and is years from the big leagues.
The Giants will pay Pillar $5.8 million this year and he's under team control for one more season.