As the Toronto Blue Jays said a tearful goodbye to outfielder Kevin Pillar, some local fans, though sad, were thinking critically and looking to the future.
Pillar’s trade was announced on Twitter before Tuesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 2, 2019
“I love baseball. I love the Jays. I love Pillar,” said East Yorker and life-long Blue Jays fan Jon Harris. “The reason he’s gone is he’s getting older and prone to injuries by the way he fields.”
Though some looked critically at Pillar’s performance as the reason for his trade, others were taking the long view.
“As a big-picture fan, I get the necessity of trading veterans as part of a rebuild,” said Jordan Pipher. “I think losing Pillar is a bit sad because he’s the last player from the magical post-season run the Jays had in 2015. Him being traded feels like the all-too-soon closure of one of the most fun Toronto sports playoffs moments in the last few decades.”
The Blue Jays last won World Series championships, back to back, in 1992 and ’93. They made an exciting run at it in 2015 with Pillar on their playoff roster.
Pillar’s trade hit his teammates hard. Marcus Stroman was one of the many Jays players expressing sadness about the trade on social media.
This one hurts. Been my locker-mate since 2014. Going to be crazy not having you there. Love you bro. Hope this move brings you joy and happiness for you and your family! @KPILLAR4 pic.twitter.com/SxenMky7RD
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) April 2, 2019
Matt Macdonald, a Toronto-based Blue Jays fan, spoke about Pillar’s fierce commitment to the game and how he was a driving force within the team.
“It is sad to see him go,” Macdonald said.
The Blue Jays lost their first two games without Pillar as they faced the Baltimore Orioles. They came back to win the third match, avoiding a clean sweep of that series. Pillar had played all of spring training with the Blue Jays leading up to the announcement.
Toronto fans won’t have to wait long to see Pillar play with his old teammates again. The Jays will face off against the Giants May 14.