Blue Jays trade OF Kevin Pillar to Giants in 4-player deal

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Kevin Pillar played his first six MLB seasons with the Blue Jays. | Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP

The Blue Jays have traded outfielder Kevin Pillar to the Giants in exchange for infielder Alen Hanson and right-handed pitchers Derek Law and Juan De Paula, the teams announced Tuesday. The move gives San Francisco an immediate upgrade in center field, where Steven Duggar had started the first five games of the season.

The Giants also designated right-hander Michael Reed for assignment, per NBC Sports Bay Area.

Pillar, 30, has been one of the top defensive center fielders in baseball over the last four years. He’s never been particularly effective at the plate with a .260/.297/.396 career batting line, but maintains value through strong defense and baserunning.

According to Baseball-Reference, he’s been worth 13.8 wins above replacement over the last four seasons, which makes him an above-average starter. FanGraphs has him lower at 10.1 WAR, but either way, he’s proven to be a valuable contributor on the field.

Hansen, 26, played one season with the Giants after being signed as a free agent. He batted .252/.274/.425 with 17 doubles, five triples and eight home runs in 310 plate appearances. The power was notable, but an ugly 9-to-71 walk-to-strikeout ratio sank his ability to put up strong numbers at the plate.

The biggest piece going to Toronto might be De Paula, the Giants’ 19th-best prospect entering the season, according to MLB Pipeline. The 20-year-old posted a 1.72 ERA with 55 strikeouts and 27 walks in 52.1 innings at the Class A level last season. MLB Pipeline says he could develop into a bottom-of-the-rotation starter.

Law, 28, made 109 relief appearances with the Giants over the last three seasons. He performed very well in 2016 with a 2.13 ERA in 55 innings, but unraveled with a 5.68 ERA in 50.2 innings over the last two years.

Pillar is due $5.8 million this season. He’s set to hit free agency in 2021.

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