There was no question that, when Chad Pinder was ready, he would immediately find his way back into the Oakland A’s lineup. The question was where he would play. While the A’s have gotten solid production from their outfield, the same could not be said at short. However, Pinder has minimal experience at the position, making him an imperfect fit.
However, the A’s are taking steps to rectify that potential issue. Pinder received the start at short in his first rehab appearance on Monday night.
Chad Pinder – the Oakland A’s answer at short?
Shortstop has been an absolute black hole for the A’s this season. They have gotten the least amount of production from that position of any major league team this year, far behind the next worst team. The combination of Elvis Andrus and Vimael Machin simply has not gotten it done, either at the plate or with the glove.
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Pinder would help offensively. A career .245/.302/.432 hitter, he has belted 45 homers and 55 doubles in his 1138 plate appearances. He has reached the double digit mark in homers in each of the last three full major league seasons, providing a viable major league bat in his utility role. His OPS+ of 99 is far better than what Andrus has produced over his career.
The question is whether or not he would be able to handle the position defensively. Pinder has a grand total of 35 games at short, having played a total of seven innings at the position since the 2018 season. He did not exactly fare well defensively, having cost the A’s four runs in his brief time at short.
However, it is not as though Andrus is a Gold Glove defensive presence at this point. The difference in terms of production in the lineup could make a great deal of difference. Likewise, with a healthy Matt Chapman at the hot corner, the A’s may be able to get away with a weaker glove at short. It certainly appears that they are considering such a move.
The Oakland A’s are having Chad Pinder play short in his first rehab appearance. This may be a sign of things to come when he is activated.