After five games, Farhan Zaidi has had enough and made a big change to the outfield.
The Giants traded for center fielder Kevin Pillar from the Toronto Blue Jays, in exchange for minor league pitcher Juan De Paula, infielder Alen Hanson and RHP Derek Law. The Giants designated Michael Reed for assignment to make room for Pillar.
The 30-year old Pillar has played his entire career in Toronto. He batted .252/.282/.426 in 2018, and has a career line of .260/.297/.396. In 5 games this season, he’s 1-for-16 with three strikeouts. Pillar is considered an excellent defensive center fielder, having won Wilson Defensive Player of the Year for center field in 2015, the Fielding Bible Award in 2016, and a finalist for the Gold Glove from 2015 through 2017.
Juan De Paula was the the 19th-ranked prospect in the Giants system as ranked by MLB Pipeline. The young pitcher was traded to the Giants midseason from the New York Yankees in the Andrew McCutchen trade. He had a 1.72 ERA in 11 games across the Yankees and Giants system last season, with 55 strikeouts against 27 walks in 52.1 innings.
RHP Derek Law had been designated for assignment by the Giants on February 1st as the Giants began a major roster shuffle. He cleared waivers and was assigned to Sacramento. Law had a 7.43 ERA with the Giants in 2018 in seven appearances, and a 4.20 ERA with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats in 33 games. Infielder Alen Hanson had been designated for assignment on March 28th after serving as the team’s utilityman and main replacement for Joe Panik during Panik’s injury. Hansen hit .252/.274/.425 for the Giants in 110 games last season, with 17 doubles, five triples and eight home runs.
Michael Reed, who was designated for assignment, was 0-for-8 for the Giants this season. He had been traded to the Giants on March 23rd from the twins for OF John Andreoli and cash.
Where Pillar fits in the Giants outfield will be determined. Steven Duggar has been productive in center field for the Giants this year, batting .250/.318/.350 with two doubles and a stolen base. Duggar may move to a corner, or the right-handed Pillar may be a platoon partner in center. Pillar has hit .279/.312/433 in his career against LHP, and .253/.291/.382 against RHP. Duggar, however, has had an extreme reverse split as a left-handed batter in the majors, batting .340/.379/.472 against southpaws and just .213/.267/.343 against RHP, but those are small samples of just 46 games.
Rumors of Pillar trade talks started all the way back in December, with the Giants being one of a few teams discussed to be a landing spot. Pillar is under team control through the 2020 season. He had been, until the trade, the longest tenured player on the Blue Jays.