The Reds announced Friday that they’ve released veteran infielder/outfielder Chad Pinder, who’d been in camp on a minor league deal. Cincinnati also reassigned righty Chase Anderson and infielder/outfielder Matt Reynolds to minor league camp. Left-hander Brandon Williamson has been optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Pinder had an opt-out in his minor league contract tomorrow. That’s also true of Anderson, but he’ll remain with the club at least for the time being.
Pinder, 31 next week, has spent his entire career to date with the A’s, for whom he posted a .242/.294/.417 batting line in 1740 plate appearances. Well versed in the outfield corners and at second base (and, to a lesser extent, at third and shortstop), he’s long been a right-handed utility option for Oakland. That’s due in large part to the righty-swinging Pinder’s career .264/.332/.456 batting line against left-handed pitching — a solid mark by any measure but even more so when factoring in the cavernous home park in which the A’s play their games.
Unfortunately, the 2022 season was one of the least-productive of his six-year big league career (.235/.263/.385 in 379 plate appearances). Spring training with his new club didn’t go any better, as Pinder was just 4-for-39 with nine strikeouts in 42 plate appearances over 15 games. Overall, he slashed just .103/.167/.154 in this spring’s small sample of at-bats.
Anderson and Reynolds were both with the Reds in 2022 as well. Anderson pitched 24 innings but was hit hard, yielding a 6.38 ERA. He’s struggled in each of the past three seasons now, but from 2014-19 he was a solid fourth starter for the D-backs and Brewers, pitching 857 innings of 3.94 ERA ball. Reynolds, meanwhile, batted .246/.320/.332 in 272 trips to the plate last season while spending time at every position except catcher.
Williamson, 24, is one of the more promising pitching prospects in Cincinnati’s system, though his stock took a hit with a somewhat shaky 2022 season. Acquired from the Mariners in the Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez trade, Williamson entered the 2022 campaign ranked 83rd on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect list. He posted a decent 4.11 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A but also walked a concerning 13.9% of his opponents.
It’s been an ugly spring the former second-round pick. Williamson has made six appearances and totaled 13 2/3 innings but been tagged for a grisly 11.20 ERA. He’s yielded 18 runs (17 earned) on 20 hits and nine walks with 14 strikeouts in Cactus League play. He’ll head to the Reds’ Louisville affiliate and work to further refine his command. There’s still a clear opportunity for Williamson to make his debut at some point this season, particularly with Luke Weaver likely headed to the injured list.