Toronto Blue Jays Trade Kevin Pillar to the San Francisco Giants

TORONTO, ON- MARCH 28 - Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar (11) makes a catch at the wall on a Detroit Tigers shortstop Jordy Mercer (7) drive as the Toronto Blue Jays open the season against the Detroit Tigers at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. March 28, 2019. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays have traded outfielder Kevin Pillar to free up a roster spot and cash.

Pillar, the longest-tenured player on the Blue Jays, went to the San Francisco Giants for three prospects. Pillar was not part of the future in Toronto. This trade freed up money for another move they announced after this trade was finalized.

What Kevin Pillar Brings to the Giants

In Pillar, the Giants get a 30-year-old center fielder with a career .260 batting average, 55 home runs, and 231 RBI. Pillar was not traded for his offense. The Giants want his defensive skills anchoring their outfield. Oracle Park is very spacious, especially towards right-center field, and Pillar’s defense was the key element in this trade for the Giants. Pillar is among the elite defensive center fielders in the game, always in consideration for the Gold Glove Award.

What the Blue Jays Get

The Blue Jays have now opened up a spot in the outfield for their number five prospect, Anthony Alford. Alford figures to get an extended look in center field as the Blue Jays continue to build their team around young players. The top player received from the Giants is Juan De Paula, a right-handed pitcher who is ranked 19th in the Giants minor league system.

Blue Jays Extend Randal Grichuk

In a busy day for the Blue Jays, they later announced a five-year contract extension for outfielder Randal Grichuk. The extension for the 27-year-old confirms that he will be part of the rebuild. A five-year, $52 million contract is very reasonable and allows Toronto to still have the flexibility to sign players or trade Grichuk if there are other needs.

Blue Jays Outlook

While all of baseball is waiting for the any-day-now arrival of mega-prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Alford is getting the first crack.  As the top-ranked outfielder in the Blue Jays system, Alford should see plenty of playing time.

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