Kevin Pillar returning for one more year would have been the path of least resistance for the Giants. He's the guy with the shiny Willie Mac Award who dove a lot. The Giants hit 63 home runs at Oracle Park, and Pillar had 11 of them (17.5 percent). He was under contract for another year at around $10 million if the Giants wanted him, and the only free-agent center fielder who is better might be a 36-year-old Brett Gardner. Plop the familiar face in the outfield and work on improving the rest of the roster.

One thing we know about the Giants' current baseball executives: They hate the path of least resistance. They hate its stupid face.

Pillar is gone, and that's at least a teensy surprise. The weak free-agent crop, the Giants' distance from the luxury tax, the Willie Mac Award and the relative success at Oracle all pointed to an easy, fan-friendly decision. But Farhan Zaidi told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic that the Giants were...

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