Veteran utilityman Chad Pinder is playing his final pro game, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter link) that Pinder will retire following tonight’s appearance with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett. Pinder is hitting seventh and starting at first base for the Stripes as they face the Durham Bulls.
A second-round pick for the Athletics in the 2013 draft, Pinder spent all of his seven Major League seasons in an A’s uniform, batting .242/.294/.417 (96 wRC+) over 1740 plate appearances from 2016-22. The right-handed hitting Pinder was naturally more productive against lefties than righties, as he had a .778 career OPS against southpaws and a .660 OPS against right-handed pitching. Pinder had only 26 career postseason plate appearances, but he made them count, posting a whopping 1.021 OPS during Oakland’s 2020 playoff run.
Beyond his work at the plate, Pinder was also immensely valuable to the A’s as a Swiss army knife of a utility player. Over his 537 career games in the big leagues, he made appearances as a left fielder (195 games), right fielder (148), second baseman (92), third baseman (55), shortstop (43), center fielder (16), first baseman (six) and even a single appearance on the mound. Pinder’s ability to play anywhere allowed Oakland’s managers and front office some extra flexibility in deciding how to fill out a roster, how to account for injuries, or in deciding on in-game adjustments.
The 2022 season saw Pinder make a career-high 379 PA, as there was plenty of playing time to be had on a rebuilding Athletics team that was almost bereft of veteran players. However, Pinder hit only .235/.263/.385, and had a sub-replacement level -0.1 fWAR. The A’s let Pinder go in free agency, and Atlanta represents Pinder’s third minor league deal of the last five months. The Reds cut Pinder from their minors deal near the end of Spring Training, and a follow-up minor league contract with the Nationals also led to a release in early May.
Cumulatively, Pinder has hit .256/.322/.402 over 90 PA at the Triple-A level this season with the Nats’ and Braves’ top affiliates, but it would appear as though he has decided to hang up his glove rather than wait for another call to the majors. Pinder just turned 31 back in March, but it seems like the next phase of his baseball career might just be starting, as Pinder seems likely to get a wide range of coaching offers. As Slusser writes, Pinder was “always a superb and unselfish team leader. He will be a great manager one day.”
We at MLB Trade Rumors congratulate Pinder on a fine career, and we wish him all the best in his post-playing endeavors.