Should the Colorado Rockies bring back Kevin Pillar for the 2021 campaign? Let’s look at some of the reasons why they should and also why they shouldn’t.
On August 31, the Boston Red Sox sent veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for 22-year-old right-handed pitcher Jacob Wallace and international slot money. The Rockies hoped that Pillar and another trade deadline acquisition, reliever Mychal Givens, would be enough to push them into the postseason. The duo, however, couldn’t provide enough of a spark to save Colorado from finishing out of the playoff picture and with a 26-34 mark.
In 24 games with Colorado, Pillar logged 91 at-bats with a .308/.351/.451 slash line and .801 OPS. His short time with the Rockies was good enough for 0.1 bWAR and 0.4 fWAR. His wRC+ of 99 was just below average, but combined with the 111 wRC+ he put up in Boston, he totaled 106 in the shortened campaign (his career numbers are 88 wRC+).
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Let’s also take into account a .343 wOBA and baseballs under the “hard hit” category at 38.4 percent, both small sample sizes but also the best of his career while wearing the purple.
By the way, Pillar’s overall xwOBA of .312 tied for the third-highest on the Rockies in 2020.
Signed by the Red Sox for a one-year, $4.25 million deal prior to the start of the 2020 campaign, the 31-year-old Pillar is now a free agent. The question now becomes will Pillar be on the Rockies when the 2021 campaign begins? With arbitration and free agency, Pillar has never been on more than a one-year deal. Could that trend continue before next season, with the Rockies or some other team? Pillar will likely be hoping to land a multi-year deal. Could that make it easier or more difficult for the Rockies to sign him?
As a note, ZiPS projections for the next two years have him totaling 1.4 fWAR and posting wOBAs of .297 and .290, respectively.
There’s a lot to think about with the decision so let’s dive into both sides and lay out the argument for each.