The Giants are facing a series of difficult decisions this offseason. They must search for a new manager and general manager, and they also must decide whether to re-sign longtime ace Madison Bumgarner.
There also are a handful of players who are eligible for salary arbitration with San Francisco, including early season acquisition Kevin Pillar. The outfielder started 150 games for the Giants after being traded from the Toronto Blue Jays in April.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand recently included Pillar on a list of 12 MLB players who might not be tendered a contract offer before the Dec. 2 deadline.
Here is why:
Traded from the Blue Jays to the Giants one week into the season, the 30-year-old Pillar posted a 93 OPS+ -- his highest mark since 2015 -- with an underwhelming .293 on-base percentage. While Pillar remains a good outfielder, he’s no longer the elite defender he was earlier in his career. Pillar earned $5.8 million in '19, but heading into his third and final year of arbitration-eligibility, it remains to be seen whether the Giants will find his potential price tag too high for their liking.
Pillar’s veteran presence was valuable for the Giants during a season when a litany of prospects came up to make significant contributions in the majors.
Despite the many defensive web gems Pillar has produced throughout his time in MLB, he never has won a Gold Glove, and he was just a hair above the league-average fielding percentage for a center fielder in 2019 (.986, league average .984).
Farhan Zaidi and the Giants' front office -- which has been increasingly reliant on advanced metrics compared other regimes -- has a difficult decision to make on Pillar.
Zaidi did mention during his end-of-season press conference that the team will be looking for players who can hit well at Oracle Park -- something the team struggled mightily with last season. Out of the 63 home runs hit by the Giants in their home ballpark in 2019, Pillar had 11 of them.
Will comfort at home be enough to justify an increased salary?
We likely won’t know until closer to that Dec. 2 deadline.