Former Braves Outfielder Signs in AL West; Laments Leaving Braves

The Atlanta Braves are one of the best organizations in baseball, and recent comments from a former Brave illustrate it
Chicago White Sox center fielder Kevin Pillar was designated for assignment and signed with the Los Angeles Angels
Chicago White Sox center fielder Kevin Pillar was designated for assignment and signed with the Los Angeles Angels / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
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The Atlanta Braves are considered one of the best-run franchises in Major League Baseball. 

A perpetual World Series contender, the Braves are considered to have one of the best clubhouses and most stability of any team in MLB. Multiple players have expressed a desire to stay in Atlanta long-term, with several trade acquisitions signing below market-rate extensions to remain with the team. 

Former Braves outfielder Kevin Pillar is the latest example of the love for Atlanta’s clubhouse within baseball. Speaking to the YouTube show Foul Territory, he explained that the 2023 season in Atlanta was one of the best in his career and he wanted to return. 

"I would've done anything to go back there. I've never been happier playing baseball in my life. It was the most fun I ever had. The group of guys, the culture, the winning, the city, it checked all of the boxes. (But) that option wasn't there for me, so it was time for me to move on."

Baseball’s a tough business. While Pillar was a great fit in the clubhouse and had a valuable role as the short side of a platoon with now departed Eddie Rosario, Atlanta’s desire for an everyday starter led them to trade for Seattle Mariners outfielder Jarred Kelenic. In a sign of Atlanta’s attractiveness as a destination, they were able to bring back veteran Adam Duvall on a one-year deal at the end of spring training to share time with Kelenic. 

Pillar posted a goodbye message on social media soon after the 2023 season ended, later signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Chicago White Sox as spring training got underway. He started off slowly in Chicago, going 4-25 with a homer, and was designated for assignment when the White Sox added veteran Tommy Pham on a one-year deal. 

Electing free agency rather than reporting to AAA Charlotte, Pillar signed a major league deal with the Los Angeles Angels, reuniting him with former Braves third base coach and current Angels manager Ron Washington. Pillar is expected to step into the roster spot of superstar Mike Trout, who was placed on the injured list with a torn meniscus that will require surgery and keep him out for two to three months. 

Lindsay Crosby


Managing Editor for Braves Today and the 2023 IBWAA Prospects/Minors Writer of the Year. You can reach him at