The Philadelphia Phillies are facing a very uncertain situation in center field with the suspension of outfielder Odubel Herrera for his role in a domestic violence dispute.
Herrera received an 85-game suspension, but he has been on a downward trend over the past couple of seasons. Since the start of 2018, the outfielder has posted an 88 OPS+ across 736 plate appearances to go along with -14 DRS as an outfielder.
The 27-year-old is signed to a contract that runs through 2021 with team options in 2022 and 2023. But given his declining production and off-the-field baggage, the Phillies may decide it is best to move on from the former All-Star.
Currently, the Phillies have Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen penciled in as their corner outfielders. Harper has never been known for having a good glove, despite posting 9 DRS as a right fielder in 2019. Similarly, McCutchen’s days as a Gold Glove outfielder are far behind him.
Scott Kingery spent plenty of time in the outfield last season, but he has more professional experience in the infield. He will likely see more of the infield dirt after the Phillies decided to non-tender long-time second baseman Cesar Hernandez.
Jay Bruce remains on the Phillies roster, but he is looking more like a bench player at this point in his career. Plus, it would not be surprising if the Phillies decided to move the left-handed slugger.
The Phillies also have Adam Haseley, but they will want to pair him with a more experienced outfielder. That is where Pillar could come into play.
In Haseley’s brief career in the major leagues, he has struggled to the tune of a .531 OPS against southpaws. To better set him up for success, the Phillies could look at Pillar as a veteran leader and platoon complement.
Plus, after the Phillies signed Zack Wheeler to a five-year, $118 million contract, they are conveying to the rest of the league that they are serious about contending.
They will need depth in case Haseley struggles, and adding Pillar gives them that in the form of a decent all-around player. They are short on prospect capital, so a dive into free agency for center field help makes sense for the Phillies.