Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar will head abroad in November with a team of MLB players to take on the Japan All-Stars.
The MLB squad will be managed by Miami Marlins skipper Don Mattingly with games taking place between November 08th through to the 15th. In September the league announced the first eight players who committed to the 7-game exhibition series.
The cast of players will include the likes of Yadier Molina, Ronald Acuna, Christian Yelich, Chris Taylor, Whit Merrifield, Rhys Hoskins, Carlos Santana, and Eugenio Suarez rounded out the early roster.
Kevin Pillar is the longest-tenured Blue Jays player having spent parts of six seasons north of the border. The 29-year old is renowned for his defensive prowess and the amount of real estate he covers in centrefield. Although his defensive metrics have dipped of late, Pillar is still an adequate defender with the ability to make highlight reel catches.
In 2018, Pillar hit .252/.282/.426 with 15 round trippers and 14 stolen bases in 142 contests for the Jays. He is a career .261/.298/.398 hitter with 55 home runs in 690 MLB games.
Pillar will be the only Jays player represented in the series however former pitcher Daniel Norris will also take part in the experience. Norris was dealt to the Detroit Tigers in the David Price trade back in 2015.
With the World Series now wrapped up the Blue Jays brain trust will begin their roster tinkering for 2019. There has been much speculation surrounding Pillar and where he fits into the Jays plans moving forward. The outfielder is eligible for salary arbitration after earning $3.25 million last season. He is not eligible for free agency until 2021 and could be dangled as trade bait this winter.
Regardless of all that noise, Pillar will head to Japan with a talented group of players in a once in a lifetime experience for the 32nd round draft pick.