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Giants acquire Kevin Pillar from Blue Jays

The Giants add a big name to firm up their shaky outfield situation.

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants have acquired outfielder Kevin Pillar from the Blue Jays in exchange for utility player Alen Hanson, right-handed reliever Derek Law, and right-handed starting pitching prospect Juan De Paula, as the teams announced Tuesday morning:

Pillar, 30, has never won a Gold Glove but has been considered one of the best defensive center fielders in the game since moving to the position early in the 2015 season. With that said, his defensive metrics took a severe hit last season, as he posted -2 defensive runs saved — a massive drop-off from the combined 50 he produced from 2015-17. With San Francisco lacking corner outfield options but already having a very intriguing center fielder in 25-year-old Steven Duggar, it figures that Pillar will probably see most of his action at a corner spot while filling in for Duggar against tough left-handed pitchers.

Pillar has never been much of an offensive force, having posted a career .260/.297/.396 slash line over 2,635 career plate appearances. He has a miserable .063/.059/.063 line in 2019, which should in perfectly on a Giants club that is hitting a combined .194/.254/.306 through five games. On the other hand, Pillar has hit double-digit homers in three of the last four seasons, including 15 in 2018, so he should join immediately become the most fearsome power hitter — not that that’s saying much — in San Francisco’s outfield.

Hanson, 26, had been designated for assignment by the Giants prior to Opening Day after falling short to Yangervis Solarte and Pablo Sandoval in the Giants’ backup infield competition. He showcased plus versatility (playing second base, third base, shortstop, and both corner outfield spots) and strong speed for the Giants in 2018, and he also hit eight homers. However, he posted a miserable .215/.225/.333 slash line after the All-Star break, and he finished with a .699 OPS for the season. Hanson, who is out of options, should bring some solid multi-position talent to Toronto’s bench.

Law, 28, was one of the best relievers in baseball as a rookie in 2016, throwing for a 2.13 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, 50 strikeouts, and just nine walks over 61 appearances (55 innings). Since dealing with a right elbow strain late in that season, however, he has never been the same. Law posted a combined 5.68 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 23 walks over 50.2 innings, and he spent significant time in Triple-A during both seasons. He was designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A just prior to spring training, and he struggled as a non-roster invitee with the Giants this spring, throwing for a 5.40 ERA over four appearances while allowing seven hits and a walk in 3.1 innings.

De Paula, 21, was acquired from the Yankees as part of the deal that sent Andrew McCutchen to New York late last August. He was ranked as the No. 19 prospect in the Giants’ system. De Paula posted a combined 1.72 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 11 appearances (10 starts) last season, striking out 55 and walking 27 over 52.1 innings.