UPDATE (5:11 p.m. ET): Kevin Pillar is set to join the Boston Red Sox on a one-year contract worth around $4 million, MassLive's Chris Cotillo reports.
Source confirms: Red Sox in agreement with Kevin Pillar on 1-year deal in $4 million range. @alexspeier first.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) February 13, 2020
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The Boston Red Sox lost Mookie Betts, but they still could have one of the best defensive outfields in baseball this season.
The Red Sox are "close" to signing free-agent outfielder Kevin Pillar, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Tuesday. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal confirmed Heyman's report, noting that Pillar would sign a major-league contract with Boston.
Pillar spent six seasons in the American League East with the Toronto Blue Jays before they traded him to the San Francisco Giants last April.
The 31-year-old is an average hitter (.261 career batting average) but put up career numbers in San Francisco last season with 21 home runs, 87 RBIs and a .735 OPS in 156 games for the Giants. He's also a career .307 hitter at Fenway Park (47 games).
More importantly, Pillar is one of the game's top outfielders, frequently making highlight reels with his incredible catches.
Young outfielder Alex Verdugo, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Betts trade, was expected to start in right field alongside center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and left fielder Andrew Benintendi.
Pillar would give Boston added depth as a platoon outfielder, though, allowing J.D. Martinez to be more of a full-time designated hitter.