Former Mets fan favorite is planning to retire after the 2024 season

But before he retires, expect him traded to a contender.
Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets
Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Something about the 2021 New York Mets continues to stick with me. Was it the yearning for a full season of baseball after the shortened 2020 campaign? The 2021 Mets, despite finishing below .500, were fighting for a National League East title for a good chunk of the year. It wasn’t until the trade deadline that the Atlanta Braves took over and the Mets faded.

A part of what made it an enjoyable watch was the presence of some unlikely heroes. Included was veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar who became a key member of the team’s “Bench Mob.”

Pillar did start regularly in the outfield for a Mets team that saw countless injuries for the regulars. He became a fan favorite when he took a pitch off his face and barely missed a game. Pillar recently reached 10 years of service which guarantees him a pension. With life after baseball more secure, the 35-year-old is planning to retire after the 2024 season.

Former Mets outfielder Kevin Pillar is planning to retire but maybe not after a playoff run

For those who haven’t paid attention to Pillar’s season, it started with the Chicago White Sox batting .160 in 32 plate appearances. Baseball’s worst team moved on from him quickly. Soon after, he found his way to the Los Angeles Angels who are mildly better but not heading to the postseason either. In 139 plate appearances for them, Pillar has hit a robust .305/.360/.516 with 6 home runs and 26 RBI. Playing mostly center field for the Angels, he should be a strong candidate to end up traded to a contender before the season is through.

His year with the Mets back in 2021 was more folklore than impressive. He’d finish it hitting .231/.277/.415 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI. A very “meh” season in a campaign where most of the hitters were unimpressive, Pillar stood out because of his ability to fill in for the onslaught of injuries. His 124 games played would end up only one fewer than Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto. 

Since leaving the Mets after the 2021 season, Pillar has had a loud and quiet career. In 2022, he played only 4 MLB games for the Los Angeles Dodgers and another 42 in Triple-A where he obliterated baseballs. In 2023, he pretty much replicated his 2021 season as a member of the Atlanta Braves albeit with less playing time.

Pillar’s decision to walk away from baseball after the 2024 season can’t be easy, especially when he continues to play at a high level. Likely on the move yet again and destined to play for his third team this season, he’ll hope to go out with a bang.

While the Mets remain in contention and probably not so much interested in his services, the best we can wish for him is a happy retirement and a loss in the World Series with whatever team he ends up traded to.