Kevin Pillar

Kevin Pillar was a 32nd round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 from Cal State-Dominguez Hills.

cs-recap-2019The first player to make it to Toronto since the Blue Jays affiliation with the Vancouver Canadians in 2011 is no longer in the nest. 2011 C’s outfielder Kevin Pillar has been traded to the San Francisco Giants for infielder Alen Hanson, righthander Derek Law and minor league righty Juan De Paula.

Pillar won the hearts of Blue Jays fans with his acrobatic and home-run stealing catches and his all-out hustle during the playoff drives of 2015 and 2016. His first foray into professional postseason play came in 2011 when he joined Vancouver for its playoff run. He batted .391 to help the Canadians get by the Eugene Emeralds and the Tri-City Dust Devils to capture their first Northwest League championship.

The righthanded-hitting Pillar made his major league debut against Boston on August 14, 2013 and his first major league hit was a single against the Yankees Phil Hughes in New York during the second game of a doubleheader August 20 and first home run was against Brad Peacock of the Houston Astros four days later. The West Hills, California native batted .260 over his seven years in Toronto. His best year with the bat and glove in terms of analytics was in 2015 when he recorded a WARP (wins above replacement player) of 4.9 but that figure dropped to 2.5. Pillar had just one hit in 16 at-bats with the Jays in 2019 but the Giants believe he can lend experience and stellar defensive play to cover the expansive outfield of Oracle Park.

Pillar will also join another former Vancouver Canadian on the Giants roster in 2015-2017 lefthander Travis Bergen, a Rule 5 pick who made his major league debut on Friday. Yangervis Solarte will be another familiar face for Pillar on his arrival to San Francisco as the two were teammates in Toronto last season.

Here are some of the Twitter reactions to Pillar leaving Toronto.

Pillar endured some ups and downs that included a 2014 run-in with manager John Gibbons and an unfortunate homophobic slur against Atlanta’s Jason Motte in 2017. Gibbons also took issue with Pillar last August for being thrown out trying to steal third base with two outs in an eventual loss to the Yankees in New York.

Despite those mishaps, ‘Superman’ will be sorely missed by Blue Jays fans. He will be back in Toronto for a two-game series when the Giants visit the Dome April 23 and 24. Hopefully, the Jays organization will pay him a proper tribute and the fans in attendance will give him a huge standing ovation for all he has done.

For a final look back on Pillar’s time in Toronto, C’s broadcaster Rob Fai wrote this article on Pillar on in 2016.

All the best to Kevin Pillar in San Francisco.