1. Kevin Pillar, CF
Opening Day outfield candidates currently include Josh Naylor, Oscar Mercado, Jordan Luplow, Daniel Johnson and Bradley Zimmer.
So, yep, fielding a strong starting outfield is still something the Indians are trying to figure out.
Fans have had to watch the team trade Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger and Franciscon Lindor in the last 1 1/2 seasons and somehow, the Indians have yet to acquire a starting caliber outfielder (Franmil Reyes played right field for the Padres, but has been a DH since coming to Cleveland).
Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto threw out Kevin Pillar as a potential option.
Tribe fans may remember him from the 2016 ALCS when he was with the Blue Jays. He was a great defensive talent, who could hit respectably at the plate.
Pillar is at the point of his career where he’s bouncing around. He spend the 2020 truncated season with the Red Sox and Rockies. He hit .288 while posting a .798 OPS.
In 2019, the 32-year-old center fielder hit .264 with 21 homers and 87 RBIs while posting a .735 OPS. ESPN rated Pillar as it’s 61st ranked free agent, noting how this once elite defender is more “average” now. The site also dubbed Pillar as a “strong fourth outfielder.”
With Mercado and Zimmer are the best bets to play center, you could certainly argue the fourth-outfielder label for them, making Pillar the cream of that crop.
The four-letter network projected a one-year, $5 million contract for Pillar.