On Sunday, the New York Mets officially signed Kevin Pillar to a one-year, $5 million deal as he becomes their final outfield depth piece. Guillermo Heredia was designated for assignment to make room for Pillar on the 40-man roster.
Can't wait to see Kevin Pillar doing this in Citi Field pic.twitter.com/nHjRQnKUHy
— SNY (@SNYtv) February 16, 2021
Pillar’s great defensive years in center field are behind him, but he is still valuable in the corners. Over the last two seasons, center field is the only spot where his DRS is negative. Pillar joins an outfield crew that already features Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, and Albert Almora Jr.
Pillar vs. Almora
The combination of Pillar and Almora is very beneficial to the roster. Heredia and Almora are very similar players, and one of them needed to be upgraded from being the “latest version of Juan Lagares.” As defensive subs, Pillar would go to left field while Almora will play center field. Pillar has 79 games in left while Almora only has 11.
While Almora adds defensive value, he brings nothing offensively and is not a speed threat. Pillar is coming off his two best offensive seasons and was a major threat against left-handed pitching in 2020. He slashed .342/.390/.579 and has always produced better against lefties in his career. Pillar also averages 16 stolen bases per season and is in the 73rd percentile for sprint speed.
Heredia will likely remain with the Mets unless other teams are pressing for another depth outfielder. In 2020, he batted .212 with two home runs and five runs batted in over 15 games.