Not re-signing Madison Bumgarner was the most controversial move the Giants made this offseason, but letting Willie Mac Award winner Kevin Pillar also walk was a close second.
Pillar became a fan-favorite in short time with his outfield acrobatics and his consistency in a lineup that was in an almost constant state of flux. Pillar’s 628 plate appearances led the team.
Ultimately the Giants elected to non-tender Pillar, who probably would’ve been due a little under $10 million for this season. That left some fans scratching their heads, even more so when the team re-signed 36-year-old Hunter Pence, albeit on a more reasonable $3 million contract.
So, was it just a case of Pence being more willing to fill a platoon role rather than the everyday role Pillar desired? Giants general manager Scott Harris pretty much confirmed that when he joined Murph & Mac on Thursday.
“It’s not as black and white as that but I think that’s along the correct line of logic there,” Harris said. “Hunter fills an important hole for us on our team. He helps us run out a very formidable lineup against left-handed pitching. He’s also familiar with our ballpark and brings leadership skills we think are going to compliment our young core.
“In Kevin’s case, he was an excellent player for us last year, he had one more year of team control so he was going to be a free agent at the end of next year anyways. We wanted to create opportunities for our young players and invest in our young players. That doesn’t mean money, it means investing at-bats, it means investing innings in center field, it means investing in the opportunity to grind through a major league season and really prove yourself at this level.”
Pillar, 31, signed with the Red Sox two weeks ago on a one-year deal worth $4.25 million.
Listen to the full interview with Harris below.