Kevin Pillar should give Giants one of MLB's best defensive outfields


LOS ANGELES -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy did not have to make a decision on where to play his new outfielder on Tuesday night. Kevin Pillar is scheduled to land at LAX at 6:40, just 30 minutes before the first pitch at Dodger Stadium. 

The longtime Blue Jay has to go through customs, and considering the traffic between the airport and the ballpark, the Giants should consider themselves lucky if Pillar makes it to Dodger Stadium at all Tuesday night. 

But he'll be in the lineup Wednesday, and Bochy said the 30-year-old will be in right field. The plan for now is for Pillar to play all three spots, but he will not play center field when Steven Duggar is in the lineup, and most of Pillar's at-bats will come from guys like Connor Joe and Yangervis Solarte, not Duggar. 

The plan is to quite often run out one of the strongest defensive outfields in the big leagues: Parra in left, Duggar in center, Pillar in right. 

"That's a pretty good outfield, don't you think?" Bochy said. 

It's certainly better than it was for the first five games. The Giants wanted to take a look at Joe, who still is in the mix, and Michael Reed, who was designated for assignment, but the lineup has not been all that competitive. Pillar is someone Farhan Zaidi sought from the moment he took over as president of baseball operations, and after months of stalking the Blue Jays, Zaidi got his man. 

"A lot of our themes from our offseason shopping list -- right-handed bat, center field, insurance and depth and just having good all-around players on the team -- he was a pretty natural fit," Zaidi said. 

The cost ultimately was not much. The Giants gave up two players who had been designated for assignment already -- Alen Hanson and Derek Law -- and a prospect, Juan De Paula, who is not considered a future contributor and didn't get taken in the Rule 5 Draft in December. 

[RELATED: Kevin Pillar has emotional reaction to being traded to Giants]

In return they got a player who doesn't fit all of what Zaidi likes -- Pillar has a .297 career on-base percentage -- but checks plenty of boxes. Zaidi pointed out that there are plenty of different ways to compile Wins Above Replacement, and Pillar's glove, speed and moderate power have led to four consecutive seasons of at least two WAR. 

"He's somebody that's been on our radar for a while," Bochy said. "Having him here to help out and give us plus defense, another bat, an experienced guy, the energy that he plays with -- I'm looking forward to getting to know him and watching him."

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