A day after the Giants non-tendered their center fielder, a shock to the fanbase if not the player, who knew this was a possibility, Pillar admitted this isn't "how we drew it up," but he's excited to hit free agency.
"Thank you @sfgiants and the fans for welcoming my family and I," wrote Pillar, who was the most veteran and dependable Giants outfielder. "I loved every second of playing for such a historic and successful franchise. It's not how we drew it up but it's every players dream and what they work so hard for is a chance at free agency. My family and I embrace the unknown and look forward to see what our future holds!"
Pillar, as reliable as they come, had perhaps the best offensive season of his career last season and will be entering free agency a year younger (31) than he would have if the Giants tendered him a contract. Arbitration would have seen him make $9-10 million, a number he probably will not be able to match as a per-year average, but he has a good chance at a two-year deal. He's a polarizing player with eye-popping defense that metrics don't match and good power (21 homers) but little patience (.287 OBP). Teams such as the Mets (with new bench coach Hensley Meulens), Cubs and Padres have needs in center.
Without Pillar, the Giants will give Mike Yastrzemski a chance to man the middle of the outfield and have Steven Duggar for depth. They still will be in the market for a power-hitting corner outfielder -- Nicholas Castellanos is the standout, if the Giants are willing to guarantee $50-plus million -- and will return youthful faces like Jaylin Davis and Austin Slater.