Kevin Pillar wasn’t even on the San Francisco Giants’ radar during this past spring training as the club ran a six-week audition for veteran outfielders.
A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. In other words, a column is a compression member. The term column applies especially to a large round support (the shaft of the column) with a capital and a base or pedestal which is made of stone, or appearing to be so. A small wooden or metal support is typically called a post, and supports with a rectangular or other non-round section are usually called piers. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces. Other compression members are often termed “columns” because of the similar stress conditions. Columns are frequently used to support beams or arches on which the upper parts of walls or ceilings rest. In architecture, “column” refers to such a structural element that also has certain proportional and decorative features. A column might also be a decorative element not needed for structural purposes; many columns are “engaged”, that is to say form part of a wall.
Kevin Pillar Heads List Of Major League Players Not Tendered …
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By early April the center-fielder was obtained from the Toronto Blue Jays in a four-player deal. And by the end of the season, Pillar had such an impact on the field and in the clubhouse, he was voted the winner of the club’s coveted Willie Mac Award as its most inspirational player.
Willie Mac is Willie McCovey, the Hall of Famer and Forever Giant, who died late last year.
Kevin Pillar Heads List Of Major League Players Not Tendered …
“That’s a guy everyone in this locker room should aspire to be like,” then rookie teammate Mike Yastrzemski told The Mercury News at the time about Pillar. “Knowing how to prepare for a season and knowing what it takes to withstand 162-plus.”
As of Monday’s deadline to tender players a contract for the coming season, Pillar is no longer with the Giants, known now as a non-tender. He was one of 18 outfielders Farhan Zaidi chose to have on the Major League roster in the game of fantasy-style baseball the president of baseball operations likes to play.
Players come and go, and Pillar is gone. He was third-year arbitration eligible, due a healthy raise off the $5.8 million he made last year.
Now, he joins the swollen ranks of free agents, as did shortstop Addison Russell of the Chicago Cubs; third baseman Maikel Franco of the Philadelphia Phillies; reliever Blake Treinen of the Oakland A’s; right-fielder Steven Souza Jr. of the Arizona Diamondbacks; infielder Tim Beckham of the Seattle Mariners, and first baseman C.J. Cron of the Minnesota Twins.
And that’s not even the complete list. Any of them can re-sign with their original teams, but that’s unlikely at a lower price.
Cron recently had surgery on his right thumb and may not be ready for spring training. Souza missed the entire season after tearing up his left knee sliding into home plate during the next to last game of the spring. On account of shoulder and knee injuries he played in only 72 games for the D-backs during his two years with the team.
The D-backs also non-tendered right-hander Taijuan Walker, who missed most of the past two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
“With Taijuan and Steven, I think really the main thrust was the missed time of the past couple of years kind of caught up to us,” D-backs general manager Mike Hazen told MLB.com.
That the injuries were sustained playing baseball for the D-backs was not a matter taken into consideration.
In all, 56 players weren’t tendered contracts Monday, and that doesn’t include infielder Jonathan Villar, who the Baltimore Orioles placed on outright release waivers prior to Thanksgiving.
Villar, the best player on last season’s woeful 108-loss Baltimore team, was traded Monday to the Miami Marlins for a pitching prospect. He’s also arbitration eligible, and coming off last season’s $4.285 million is slated for a hefty raise.
He’ll replace the departed Starlin Castro and should help the re-building Marlins, who themselves lost 105 games. The Marlins early this past month declined a $16 million club option on Castro, paying him a $1 million buyout instead. Villar immediately becomes the highest paid player on the Miami roster.
“We’re going to miss him, but this is the right move for us on a number of levels,” Orioles GM Mike Elias said Monday about Villar. “It’s hard to let him go, but we have to keep the eye on our strategic objectives, which prioritize the future right now.”
If there’s a common thread to all of this, it’s lesser clubs maneuvering their finances and 40-man roster space trying to gradually improve their positions.
An elite team like the New York Yankees, it should be noted, tendered contracts to every player on their 40-man roster.
That makes the Giants even more intriguing. They are certainly in a rebuilding mode under a new baseball ops department, including Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler, after three successive losing seasons. But the Giants are hardly one of baseball’s lesser franchises.
They had a top MLB opening day player payroll of $170.2 million this past season following a $200.5 million hit in 2018 that exceeded the luxury tax threshold.
In his defense, Farhan is strapped with $110.6 million committed this coming season to a bevy of fading veteran stars in Buster Posey ($22.2 million), Johnny Cueto ($21 million), Jeff Samardzija ($19.8 million), Brandon Belt ($17.2 million), Brandon Crawford ($15.2 million) and Evan Longoria ($15.2 million).
Posey, Crawford and Belt were stars on the 2014 World Series-winning team, and Posey, of course, was a six-time All-Star catcher, National League MVP and batting title-winner in 2012, and an important cog on all three of the teams that won the World Series from 2010-14.
But that was then, and this is now. They are all untradeable diminishing assets, particularly the now 32-year-old Posey after hip surgery, a devastating ankle injury, and umpteen concussions. Five of the six of them – sans Samardzija – have big contracts as well through the 2021 season.
What’s a GM to do? Cut Pillar, one of the Giants’ most productive players this past season.
“It’s a tough decision because he had a nice year for us and clearly connected with the fans with his production and his style of play,” Zaidi said. “We certainly wish him the best, but with where we are as an organization, we’ve got to be in a little bit of a development mode.”
That’s the way it goes for Pillar – and Villar – for sure.