SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants still do not consider themselves anywhere near the Bryce Harper chase. Over four days in Las Vegas, they added two outfielders to their 40-man roster, both of whom are just prospects potentially fighting for bench roles.
There’s a middle ground between Harper and the recent additions, though, and the Giants have been active in that market while exploring trades. One name discussed by the front office, according to multiple sources, was Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar, who is interesting for a number of reasons.
Pillar, 29, is a defense-first center fielder who would seem to be an odd fit at first since the Giants already have a young version of that profile in Steven Duggar. But Pillar is a right-handed hitter who always has hit lefties better, and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi would like to find a platoon partner for left-handed-hitting Duggar, at least early in his career.
Beyond that, the Giants are intrigued by the idea of occasionally playing two center fielders at the same time in their massive ballpark. Both prospects picked up this week – Mike Gerber and Drew Ferguson – can play center field, and Pillar is known as one of the top true center fielders in the game. In those discussions, the Giants imagined an alignment that occasionally could have Pillar in center and Duggar in right.
“Right field at our place is just as hard as playing center field,” one source said.
It’s unclear if the Giants gained any traction in talks for outfielders this week. Zaidi believed he might have a couple of deals in place next week, although he could go in a number of directions as he looks to fill holes.
Pillar has not been widely known to be available. Still, the Blue Jays are rebuilding in a tough division, with plenty of young talent on the way, and that’s the type of team the Giants have targeted at times.
The Giants are not fully rebuilding on their own. They prefer to add minor pieces to the lineup and find platoon advantages, and Pillar – or someone similar – is the type of player who makes sense for a team that hopes to be somewhat competitive next season.