6:14pm: As of now, the Athletics are uninterested in trading Pinder, Slusser tweets.
3:24am: Oakland Athletics utility man Chad Pinder is drawing trade interest around the league, per MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman. Pinder, 28 in March, was a second round draft choice of the A’s in 2013 out of Virginia Tech. He’s been a role player for Bob Melvin’s A’s in each of the last three seasons, though he saw more playing time than ever last season.
It’s understandable that Pinder would attract trade inquiries, as he’s the type of player managers love because of his versatility. While making appearances at every position besides pitcher and catcher in each of the last two seasons, he truly has proven comfortable everywhere, with left field garnering the greatest portion of the defensive timeshare at just over fifty-five percent of his career innings. The infield is mostly spoken for in Oakland due to the presence of Matt Chapman, Marcus Semien and Matt Olsen, but with Jurickson Profar now in San Diego, Pinder could be in line for a semi-regular role at the keystone, where he’s been tabbed for right around 13 starts per season since his debut. Franklin Barreto, Jorge Mateo and Sheldon Neuse are the greatest threats to a regular role at second for now, though there’s plenty of time for Oakland to make a move.
There aren’t many teams that couldn’t use a Swiss Army knife like Pinder. The Indians, for one, have long had their eye on him, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. He bring defensive value in the outfield corners, where the A’s play him most, but he’s also coming off the worst offensive showing of his career – a mere 87 wRC+. This on the heels of a 114 wRC+ season in 2018. His BABIP slipped to a career low, so there could be some positive regression coming, but his walk rate also dropped back to 5.4% after a rise to 8.1% the year before, which prompted much of the excess offensive output. Strikeouts aren’t a huge problem for Pinder, but he simply doesn’t have any one skill strong enough to make up for a below-average walk rate. He has decent enough pop, but the .240/.290/.416 line he put forth in 2019 isn’t going to cut it, even for a part-timer.
Even so, the A’s like Pinder quite a bit, and it would take a good return to prompt a trade, per MLB.com’s Martin Gallegos. He is arbitration eligible for the first time this winter, however, figured to make around $1.8MM. The cost-conscious A’s are always willing to be creative with their payroll, but the flexibility and security Pinder provides the roster far outweighs the meager salary he’ll be due his first time through the arbitration process.