Red Sox sign Outfielder Kevin Pillar

The Boston Red Sox recently signed outfielder Kevin Pillar to a one-year, $4.25 million deal. This Pillar signing comes following the loss of Red Sox superstar, Mookie Betts, in a blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

While this acquisition definitely helps lessen the damage resulting from the Dodgers trade, it does cause a problem in the outfield.Kevin Pillar
In the Betts trade, the Red Sox acquired outfielder Alex Verdugo, who had a very impressive rookie campaign with the Dodgers. This deal now leaves the Red Sox with five outfielders. (Martinez, Benintendi, Bradley, Pillar, Verdugo) Assuming Martinez is the designated hitter, where does that leave everyone else?

Managing Playing Time

Last season, Kevin Pillar had arguably his best offensive year, hitting .259 with 21 home runs. Where Pillar really shines, however, is defensively. He has been a finalist for Gold Glove in center field every year he has played in the majors. His defensive ability is arguably at the same caliber of Jackie Bradley Jr. For that reason, the Red Sox can balance playing time in center between the two. Pillar can start on days a left-handed pitcher is starting against them, and Bradley can start against right-handed pitchers. This same scenario could work with Verdugo instead of Bradley, as long a Pillar is comfortable in Fenway’s right field. Pillar is also a step above Bradley offensively, which makes him a good option to use as a pinch-hitter. However, I believe that, while this option is a good one, making a trade to free-up room for Pillar to play full time is a better option.

Trading Bradley now that we have Kevin Pillar

Trade rumors involving Jackie Bradley Jr. have been circulating this off-season. I believe that now, more than ever, Jackie Bradley Jr. should be traded. Bradley is still young, has loads of talent, and would be a good piece for any team that is looking to make a playoff push this season and needs help defensively. This move would create room for Pillar, who I believe is slightly better all-around than Bradley to become a full-time player. Verdugo would also become a full-time player, which is crucial for him in this stage of his career, as he is likely yet to reach his full potential in the big leagues. Not only that, but the Sox can finally try to get some decent pitching in return for Bradley. After getting nothing in terms of pitching in the Betts deal, it is crucial that the Sox pick-up at least one or two decent arms to strengthen our subpar pitching staff.

The signing of Kevin Pillar is something that Red Sox fans should be happy about during these dark days without Mookie Betts. However, if the organization doesn’t manage the outfield situation correctly, the team will not improve as much as it should.

The Joe Kelly Experiment Has To End

The Joe Kelly Experiment has to end, and it has to end now. In Kelly’s first start of 2016 he went 3.3 innings while giving up 7 hits, 7 runs (all earned), issued 3 walks, struck out 4, and gave up a monster grand slam to the 2015 MVP, Josh Donaldson. Not to mention almost beheading Kevin Pillar with a 97 mph fastball that luckily only hit the brim of his batting helmet, which Pillar was then able to bounce back up after being knocked to the ground.

Control issues have been hampering him since arriving in Boston. For a guy who can hit triple digits with his fastball well, let’s just say it doesn’t end well. Joe Kelly ExperimentSo it begs the question, why is he still in the rotation? Why is Farrell so intrigued to keep working on what I believe is a failed project. After spending some time down in Triple A last year, Kelly came back up to Boston and showed signs of major improvement. 5-0 with a 1.69 ERA. But it took a trip down to the minors for him to “fix” whatever issues he was having and now we’re to believe he’s figured it all out? Nope, not buying that one bit.

The fact of the matter is this, the 2016 Red Sox pitching rotation is already looking like the teams biggest downfall. Had it not been for some timely offense and relatively strong bullpen in the most recent game, who knows what the outcome would’ve been. But I do know this—and I hope Farrell finally grows a pair and see’s—Joe Kelly should not be in this rotation whatsoever.

If you want to throw him in the bullpen, great! I’m all for it. The more power arms there the better. But if you’re going to keep him in the rotation expect similar results that we not only saw in the last game, but that we’ve seen since he’s arrived in Boston.

They say in baseball a change of scenery is sometimes all that is needed for a player. Well, I think it’s finally getting to that point for Joe Kelly and I hope it happens sooner rather than later because the Joe Kelly Experiment has finally run its course.