MESA, Ariz. -- Chad Pinder played every defensive position for the A's in 2019, minus catcher and pitcher.
“I have so many gloves that I own,” Pinder told NBC Sports California during spring training. “I have an outfielder's glove, a third baseman glove, a middle infielder glove, a first baseman’s mitt … and I just got a catcher’s mitt.”
The 27-year old is the definition of a “super-utility" player. That makes him super valuable, but it doesn’t make his job super easy.
“To put up the numbers he’s put up, with the inconsistent at-bats he’s had, not only that — he’s had to worry about playing every position on the field,” relief pitcher Lou Trivino said. “I think it shows what a talented player he is.”
Stephen Piscotty can easily sum up how teammates view Pinder: “With the utmost respect.”
“Baseball is a lot about rhythm,” Piscotty continued. “And when you’re not playing every day, it’s hard to find that rhythm. He just brings it.”
Pinder also routinely brings “it” as one of the prominent leaders inside Oakland’s clubhouse, even though you might not find him regularly in the starting lineup, or drawing extra personal attention.
“I think it’s just through relationships and building trust,” Pinder shared. “And being friends with everyone in the clubhouse. I’ve always been told since being little to just put my head down and go about my business. Let your actions on the field do the talking. That’s something that I’ve tried to live by.”
Manager Bob Melvin recognizes Pinder’s leadership as so strong, that he can already make this bold prediction: “He’ll be a manager someday.”
“There are times that I call him in my office and say, ‘You know that Chapman guy? Go handle him,' " Melvin shared. “He’s got a great idea how to handle guys, he’s probably as well-liked a guy as we have.”
Pinder has become an A's fan-favorite for all of his on-field hustle since his 2016 arrival, and a players’ favorite for much of the effort you don’t see.
“What we see too, on the bench is that he’s up in the tunnel in the fifth inning getting ready for that pinch-hit at-bat that may or may not come,” Piscotty shared. “He’s very active and I know how draining that can be, getting all psyched up.”
“I have so many things I like about him. He works hard every single day, he wants to be great,” center fielder Ramon Laureano said. “On the field, and inside the clubhouse, he’s just outstanding. I love the guy. I get happy every time I see him. He’s one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever had.”