The Los Angeles Dodgers added veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar to their list of non-roster invitees to 2022 Spring Training by signing him to a Minor League contract in late March.
Pillar held a player option with the New York Mets for the 2022 season, but declined it in favor of reaching free agency. It was somewhat of a surprise considering Pillar had one of his worst seasons offensively last year, batting .231 with 15 home runs, 47 RBI and a .692 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
Pillar spent the winter finding direction for his career and believes the Dodgers are an organization to potentially turn him around, via Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:
“I felt like it was in my best interest for the longevity of my career to maybe take a step back, to take a couple of steps forward,” Pillar said. “This organization has done a really, really good job of taking players that maybe have underperformed or underachieved, or maybe some guys that were fairly unknown and turned them into some really good baseball players.
“For me, I want to leave no stone unturned. I still believe that I can be a much better baseball player than I am right now. And this is probably the best place for me to try to figure that out. … I’m betting on myself to be able to play this game at a high level for a couple more years. Even if that means I got to take a step back this year.”
Although Pillar is no longer the defensive standout he once was, the 33-year-old still has a steady glove in the outfield. Furthermore, the West Hills, California native has hit a career .280/.312/.459 with a 104 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, a role the Dodgers need to shore up.
Kevin Pillar contract details
In signing a Minor League contract with the Dodgers, Pillar has the potential to exercise an opt-out clause if not added to the team’s active roster.
Pillar began the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City and has remained there, but an opt-out date passed on May 1, and he remained with the Dodgers.
Manager Dave Roberts recently said he envisions the local product making an impact for the team at some point this season.
Are you following Dodger Blue on Instagram? It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!