Chad Pinder may see extended time at second in 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 13: Chad Pinder #18 of the Oakland Athletics throws to first base to complete a double play during the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on August 13, 2019 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Oakland Athletics 3-2. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 13: Chad Pinder #18 of the Oakland Athletics throws to first base to complete a double play during the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on August 13, 2019 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Oakland Athletics 3-2. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /
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The Oakland A’s battle for second base may have a new entrant, as Chad Pinder will be getting more looks at the position in summer camp.

Over the past few years, Chad Pinder has emerged as an important part of the Oakland A’s roster. He has worked diligently to expand his defensive versatility, becoming an asset at virtually every position on the diamond. During his time in the majors, he has appeared at every position except for pitcher and catcher, although it may be time for the A’s to revisit having a player appear at all nine positions as Bert Campaneris once did.

In 2019, Pinder appeared in 124 games, with 21 of those games coming at second. While that was his third most frequently played position, he said that he never quite felt comfortable at second, primarily having issues with double plays.

Understandably, this is something the A’s and Pinder are working on. To that result, and to have Pinder feel more comfortable on those split-second plays at the position, the A’s plan on getting him a lot of work at the keystone during summer camp.

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It is an idea that makes sense. Even in a perfect world, Pinder may well have receiving more playing time at second than he was accustomed to. Tony Kemp, Franklin Barreto, and Vimael Machin are battling for playing time, but none of those players have a sustained track record of success at the major league level.

With the shorter season, it may behoove the A’s to slot Pinder into a regular spot in the lineup. Defensively, he has been a bit of an adventure at second, showing below average range and costing the A’s seven runs in his 71 games at the position. But having more time to work on his footwork and positioning, and getting more comfortable, could change those ratings.

In the end, it will come down to production. Pinder has been a solid asset with the bat, despite a down 2019. Last year, he produced a disappointing .240/.290/.416 batting line, hitting 13 homers and 24 doubles in 370 plate appearances. Yet, even that batting line could be better than what else the A’s would receive at second.

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Chad Pinder is getting more time at second base so he can become more comfortable at the position. Given the unsettled nature of the position, it makes perfect sense.

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