Pillar 'at peace' amid Deadline rumors

August 26th, 2020

Signed as a free agent right as Spring Training was getting underway, veteran outfielder has proved to be a perfect fit for the Red Sox in terms of production, defense and his all-out playing style.

This could also make Pillar the perfect fit to be moved to a contender before Monday’s Trade Deadline.

With the Red Sox taking a 10-20 record into Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays, Pillar is one of the many players chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom could off-load to acquire chips for the future.

“Obviously, we’re human beings,” Pillar said. “We read stuff. We hear stuff. We feel stuff. But for me, personally, I don’t think it’s affected me too much. Being a player that’s been through it, has experienced being traded, being part of a new team and then ultimately signing with a new team this year -- kind of my third team in one calendar year -- I don’t want to say that I’m immune to the rumors and what it would be like if I had to pick up and move, but I definitely understand that it’s a realistic possibility.”

So much so that Pillar has discussed the situation with Bloom.

“He hasn’t indicated that I was going to be traded or I wasn’t going to be traded,” said Pillar. “It’s that where we’re at as an organization, as a team, record-wise, they’re pretty much going to be listening to phone calls on pretty much every player. Given that I only signed a one-year deal here, that I don’t cost a ton of money, it may make sense for me to be traded.

“But with those conversations, I told him that I’ve enjoyed everything about this season despite the lack of success. I’ve enjoyed the challenges that have come. In some ways, I feel like I’ve been able to take on a leadership role, help these guys through a tough time, and [I've] continued to go out there and play every single day to try to get this team back on track. For me, I’m at peace.”

After the Blue Jays traded Pillar to the Giants just a few days into the 2019 season, nothing will probably be able to throw him for that much of a loop again. He is prepared for whatever might come over these next few days.

‘I think in some way with [playing during the pandemic] and not having my family here, it does make it a little easier if I do get traded to pack up my own stuff, get on a plane and go,” said Pillar. “With everything that happened last year with my wife and a 1-year-old at the time, you don’t worry about all those other moving pieces."

On Wednesday, Pillar was batting seventh and playing right field for the Red Sox. He realizes it could be a different story as soon as Thursday.

“It’s not going to affect the way I go out there and play every single day. I’m going out there with a clear mind and a clear conscience,” said Pillar.

Brasier pouncing on opportunity
After Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree were traded to the Phillies last week, Ryan Brasier has gotten the chance to pitch in some high-leverage opportunities again like he did in 2018, when he dominated for a championship team.

In fact, after a shaky start to the season, Brasier hasn't allowed a run over his past five outings.

“Really, it was just a matter of getting here early and putting some work in with [pitching coach Dave] Bush and [assistant coach] Kevin Walker and [bullpen coach Craig Bjornson], trying to iron out some stuff that I was struggling with in Spring Training,” Brasier said. “I think everything kind of coming together all at once right here has been the main reason for the last few outings of success."

Roenicke on upcoming decisions
Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke has been around the game long enough to know that he could be asked by the front office to handle the roster differently once the Trade Deadline passes. In other words, he could be asked to go with more youth on the mound and in the lineup so the club can start planning for 2021.

“Well, yes, it’s certainly possible that will happen. I’ve been with organizations before where it’s happened,” Roenicke said. “I think you get to a point where it’s really important to look at next year, whenever that point may be.

“We’re obviously not in a really good spot right now, but we know we know if we had a good week, things could change. Maybe a great week instead of a a good week. I’m hoping we’re still going for it, but I know we have to get really hot. Hopefully, that will happen, but if it doesn’t, that conversation will come up.”