Dodgers Sign Kevin Pillar to Minor League Deal, Freddie Freeman Makes Spring Debut

Through four Cactus League games, the Dodgers still have yet to post a win. If this were the start of the regular season, you’d have fans on social media calling for skipper Dave Roberts to be fired. Nonetheless it is only Spring Training, so fans must take these games with a grain of salt.

The Dodgers have remained quite active in the free agency market. The team inked left handed Tyler Anderson last week, and today signed another veteran. The team announced it had signed veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar to a minor league deal with a big league invite. The deal was reported to be for a $2.5 million base salary.

Dodger fans may remember Pillar from his days with the San Francisco Giants in 2019 and with the Colorado Rockies in 2020. Pillar spent the 2021 season with the New York Mets. He is known for his stellar defense in the outfield, in 131 games last year he did not record one error.

Pillar was also the Wilson defensive player of the year in 2015.

The 33-year-old is a Southern California native and grew up as a Dodger fan. The signing comes just days after the Dodgers traded fellow outfielder Luke Raley to the Tampa Bay Rays .

Tuesday’s Cactus League action sees the Dodgers taking on the Cincinnati Reds.

Making his Spring debut will be the newest star acquisition for the Dodgers. First baseman Freddie Freeman is hitting third in the lineup. Also making his Spring debut on the mound is Walker Buehler, who had a stellar 2021 season.

The Dodgers haven’t officially announced an Opening Day starter but all signs would point to Buehler as the leading candidate.

This lineup is not even what the Dodgers might look like at full strength, which is quite scary if you were an opposing pitcher.

27 thoughts on “Dodgers Sign Kevin Pillar to Minor League Deal, Freddie Freeman Makes Spring Debut

  1. I assume the 2.5 million is only if he makes the big club. That kind of contract to spend the year at OKC is a bit high. Pillar is a real hard-nosed player. I’ve always admired the effort he gives, even when he was in a Giant uniform. Things are getting a little crowded on the bench, with the following people competing for what will probably amount to four spots.

    Let’s, for purposes of this exercise, assume that Muncy is the DH and CT3 is the 2nd baseman:
    Lux
    Alberto
    Beaty
    McKinstry
    Rios
    Pillar
    Lamb

    I don’t think any of the other youngsters are going to start the season in L.A. and even if MLB decides to start the year with 28 man rosters, I think the additional spots will go to pitchers.

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    1. Maybe only four spots including Barnes at C. So guys like the bottom four you list might all be AAA depth to cover injuries at MLB level.

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      1. You’re right Gary. I totally forgot about Barnes, so that leaves 3 spots unless they won’t let them carry more than 14 pitchers with the expanded April roster. Don’t know if they’ve made a statement on that yet.

        I really like what I see from Outman. I don’t see him making the team this year, especially now that we’ve signed Pillar, but I hope there’s room for him next year.

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  2. Heaney looked a little better when he came back out after being pulled from the game. Mitch White getting roughed up in the 9th. Beaty, Smith and Outman homered. MLB is bringing back the ghost runner and the rosters will be at 28 until May 1. So for the first two weeks of the season they can carry 28.

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      1. Not sure if it will start after the 10th inning but MLBTR reported the agreement between the MLBPA and MLB this afternoon. Monday announced it during the game. And a 28 player roster until May 1 will be in force. Agreement will be voted on by the owners next week. Passage is considered a formality.

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      2. I have no problem with it. I have no problem with illegal shifts either. I think it should be a 5 yard penalty, same as football.

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  3. Anybody watching these games? Some sleep inducing baseball from my recliner. Doesn’t appear to be large crowds there either.

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      1. Yoiks. Even watching soporific baseball is better than that. Unless of course you got gassed. I ask for it a lot, don’t always get it.

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  4. Kershaw off to great start.
    Lux homers to start game. Great sign.

    Beaty designated for assignment. He is a quality hitter who expect will be picked up by someone or traded. I don’t think the Dodgers have given him enough respect.

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      1. I think the guy who moved farthest up the ladder and probably right on to the opening day roster is Lamb (who had 3 hits today). He may even wind up moving Rios off the roster. He can play first, third and the corner outfield which makes him more versatile than Rios.

        The bench is only going to be 4 deep: Barnes, Alberto, CT3/Lux (whomever isn’t starting) and ? I think that guy will be Lamb. It very much seems that they wanted him to make the club considering the number of at bats they’ve given him. That’s a shame for Rios who seems to be hitting the ball hard this spring. I guess we’ll see how it plays out.

        Outman is really interesting and I expect him to make the club…………………………next year, or this year in an emergency. He’ll benefit from a year at AAA.

        I agree with Gary. The Dodgers never really gave Beaty enough respect. He should definitely be tradeable. I hope he winds up on a club (preferably not in our division) that will give him the playing time he deserves.

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      2. I guess designating Beaty made sense from standpoint that his D is average and 1B is covered by Freeman, Muncy, Bellinger, Rios, etc and with DH they don’t have a need to PH him. He is a great citizen too, remember how he helped tornado victims in Tenn. Hope he finds another MLB team.

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      3. Attendance today was just under 5,000 which is less than half of what the Dodgers typically average in Spring Training. Is it a sign?

        Yes, Lamb has looked good. If he’s healthy he should be called up. He has played outfield, no doubt could do it, but he’s an infielder. 4800 innings in the infield, 151 innings in the outfield. Outman really intrigues me and with Beaty gone it’s Outman that steps into that role.

        We appear to have a lot of depth. Hope we don’t need it.

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      4. Too early on Outman in my opinion. He hasn’t played above AA. Should start at AAA Good OF, some speed and power. May be in line to replace Pollock in 2023 or 24.
        Lamb May get a spot if they want his LH bat and 3B experience to spell Turner.
        Wouldn’t be surprised to see Rios or McKinstry traded to accommodate adding Lamb and maybe Pillar to active roster.
        Bench would then be Barnes, Taylor, Alberto, Lamb and Pillar potentially. Some would say Taylor starts with Lux on bench. Will be interesting to see how bench gets playing time.

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      5. You’ve got a five man bench there, Gary. I don’t see any way they have room for more than four guys on the bench.
        9 starters, 13 pitchers, 4 bench = 26.
        With 28 at the beginning of the year I don’t see how the extra 2 aren’t pitchers.

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      6. I agree I meant to say either or on Lamb and Pillar. Pillar will probably be parked at AAA unless or until an OF injury.

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      7. I noticed all the empty seats the last couple of days but I’m guessing it was less to teach the Dodgers a lesson and more because folks just cancelled their planned trips or didn’t plan to come in the first place because of the lockout. My son and a group of his friends go every year. They decided to go anyway this year and had planned on golfing and going to an NBA game if nothing had been settled. Luckily for them, the first exhibition game coincided with the weekend they planned to be there.

        I don’t see Outman as the guy who replaces Beaty on the roster. Outman is a defense first guy where Beaty is offense first. I see Rios or Lamb as the guy who steps into the Beaty role.

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      8. Don’t think he is even on the 40 man roster is he? Outman, hoese and busch have kind of aged out and don’t really have a future on this team I don’t believe. I’d like to see them move the young guys up and them a shot. And get rid of rios and zmac as well. Why we have 28/29 year old guys taking up roster spots and not playing is beyond me

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      9. Patience, Gordon, patience. Both Outman and Busch are 24 and they both lost 2020 to Covid so by my clever method of aging them, that means they’re both 23. Busch is on more than one Top 100 Prospect list. Sounds like you want the Dodgers to field a team of 18 year olds. 🙂

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      10. As an example, Will Smith was 24 when he was called up. His first shot at AAA he batted .138 in 87 at bats. That was 2018. In 2019 at age 24 he started at AAA and hit 20 HRs in 224 at bats, got the call to Dodgers and hit 15 more in 170 at bats. The rest is history. Should be an all star this year. So yes, as Jeff says be patient.

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      11. Yes, Outman is on the 40 man roster. He was drafted in 2018. Busch and Hoese just drafted in 2019 All played college ball so that is why they are a little older. Also why they have all reached AA already. They all basically missed 2020 due to COVIID. Hoese will probably start in AA again as he was in and out of lineup in 2021 with injuries and his development stalled. Busch should advance to AAA and so should Outman this year.
        Not all MLB players reach MLB and become starters at 19-23. Some take more time especially when a team is loaded like our Dodgers.
        Just an FYI, Justin Turner was 29 when he started to become star level with the Dodgers. They all develop differently.

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  5. “A 24-year-old outfielder with a nice blend of power, speed and defense, Outman hit .289/.369/.518 with nine home runs and two steals in 39 games at Double-A to close the year. He should spend most, if not all, of next season in the upper levels of the minors.”

    https://www.prospectslive.com/scoutingreports/james-outman

    That report was written in August. I’ll go out on limb and say he is my breakout prospect this year. Him and Miller. And Pepiot. And Vargas.

    Our best prospects are not really that old. Rios will be 28 soon. His time is now. Vargas is 22, Peopiot is 24, Miller is 23, Cartaya is 20, Busch is 24, Outman is 25 later this year, Pages is 21. We have a lot of minor league players that will be Major League ready about the same time. There will be opportunities for trades starting …. now.

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    1. What Gary says is true but if you’re not in the majors by 23/24 you’re probably destined to be a journeyman player and should move on. The dodgers told us last year that there had nothing in the vaunted farm xystem that was anywhere near major league ready and I guess this year as well based on their recent sighnings. So if the 25 year olds aren’t ready now for a look, their next chance may be never. If you look at the best players in the league it’s really hard to find one that wasn’t playing at age 24. Please don’t tell me about turner. One in a thousand.

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