Chad Pinder should not be the answer at short for 2021
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s may be looking for a shortstop for the 2021 season. Chad Pinder should not be one of the options considered as a starter.
Chad Pinder has become a valuable member of the Oakland A’s over the past few years. He has developed into a solid utility player with respectable pop, spending most of his time at left, right, and second. His respectable defense and typically league average production at the plate has made him one of the key pieces on the A’s roster.
As the A’s head into 2021, it is possible that his role will expand. Oakland has ten impending free agents, including openings at short and second. While the A’s front office has stated that they want to retain both Marcus Semien and Tommy La Stella, the fact of the matter is that they may not have the resources to do so.
Naturally, with those possible openings in the middle of the diamond, Pinder has been mentioned as an option should the A’s be unable to lure either, or both, of Semien and La Stella back. In theory, this could work, especially as Pinder was originally drafted as a shortstop and spent the majority of his time in the minors at the position.
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He has also seen action at short in the majors, although not as extensively. He has a total of 224 innings at the position over four years, with just seven innings since 2018. Pinder has been decent enough to use at short in a pinch, with solid range and having only cost the A’s four runs defensively. One can see why he would be considered as an option.
However, that is not where he is most valuable. Pinder has been the A’s super utility player, having lined up everywhere but pitcher and catcher. He has been able to provide solid production off the A’s bench in a variety of positions, allowing manager Bob Melvin to play matchups and rest his ‘regular’ starters.
In theory, Pinder can handle a starting role. His lifetime .244/.302/.430 batting line has been just about league average, and he has hit 44 homers and 55 doubles in his 1128 plate appearances. It is tempting to see what he could do as an every day player. But that is not where his value lies.
It is tempting for the Oakland A’s to give Chad Pinder an every day role. But they would be better served by keeping him as a super utility player.