Former SF Giants outfielder and 2019 Willie Mac Award winner likely to retire after 2024 season

Los Angeles Angels v San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Angels v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Former SF Giants outfielder Kevin Pillar recently reached 10 years of major league service time. He tells Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he will likely retire following the 2024 season.

Former SF Giants outfielder and 2019 Willie Mac Award winner likely to retire after 2024 season

Reaching 10 years of service time is an awesome achievement that few players in baseball reach. Not only is it a sign of longevity, but it means that a player will receive an annual pension for the rest of their life.

After being selected in the 32nd round of the 2011 draft, the odds were against Pillar to even reach the majors. However, he found a way to stick and even carve out a role with several teams. Plus, he recently reached the 1,000-hit mark.

Perhaps, Pillar felt that he may never reach 10 years of service time in the majors. The right-handed bat struggled to the tune of a .650 OPS with just one home run in 32 plate appearances with the Chicago White Sox before he was released earlier this year. The White Sox are the worst team in baseball with a 26-65 record, so there was a chance that no one would call after that.

However, the Los Angeles Angels took a flyer on the veteran outfielder. Angels general manager Perry Minasian knows Pillar well. Minasian served as a scout with the Toronto Blue Jays when Pillar was drafted. And, he had remained as a scout for much of Pillar's tenure with Toronto.

Pillar has rewarded that decision as he has registered a .299/.355/.512 line with six home runs and 26 RBI in 138 plate appearances in an Angels uniform. Of course, he has been known more for his defense during his major league career. The 35-year-old has made countless, highlight-reel plays. He was one of the best defensive outfielders in the AL in the 2010's.

Giants fans saw this up close during his lone season with San Francisco in 2019. He was shipped to the Giants from Toronto in a rare, early-season trade. He posted a .735 OPS following the trade while leading the club in both home runs (21) and RBI (87). Pillar was also recognized for his leadership on the field as he took home the 2019 Willie Mac Award.

In an unpopular move, the Giants cut ties with Pillar following that season. Since then, he has bounced around the league.

Pillar did leave the door slightly ajar as he told Bob Nightengale, "In my heart, I’m 98% sure." Regardless of the decision he makes, the veteran player has put together an improbably long career and is showing that he still has something to offer.