3 reasons why the Reds released Chad Pinder

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Chad Pinder
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Chad Pinder / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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In a surprising move, the Cincinnati Reds released Chad Pinder on Friday afternoon. After signing a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training, it seemed like all but guaranteed that the Cincinnati faithful would see the former Oakland A's outfielder break camp with the Reds.

But alas, the Reds had other ideas in mind. There are a myriad of reasons that Cincinnati would have chosen to go this direction, not the least of which was Pinder's .321 OPS this spring.

But with the team carrying three catchers and the coaching staff touting Pinder's versatility throughout spring training, the 30-year-old felt like a shoo-in. What happened?

1. Former Reds OF Chad Pinder played poorly this spring.

Honestly, as surprising as this sounds, poor performance may be the biggest reason that the Cincinnati Reds cut ties with Chad Pinder. Normally, teams do not put a ton of stock into Cactus League of Grapefruit League performances, but when you're hitting just .103, it's going to carry some weight.

Sometimes, teams will give leniency to veteran players like Pinder, knowing that his strong clubhouse prensence and proven track record in the major leagues can be valuable. But with this young squad, it seems as though the Reds are prioritizing performance. That's something we haven't seen in the past.

It's not Pider is coming off an All-Star performance either. He played poorly last season for the Oakland A's, hitting just .235/.263/.385. And while Pinder smashed 12 homers in 111 games, he also struck out 118 times. Pinder had just four hits all spring and only two went for extra bases.

Chad Pinder was used all over the diamond, and the thinking was that his defensive versatility would be enough to secure him a spot on the Opening Day roster. Obviously, that was not the case, and the Cincinnati Reds spring roster is now sitting at just 36 players.

2. Maybe Nick Senzel is closer to making his Reds debut than we think.

This has to be, in some way, related to what we've seen recently from Cincinnati Reds centerfielder Nick Senzel. David Bell continues to maintain that Senzel is one of the best players on the team, and while some throughout Reds Country would disagree, it's the manager's opinion that matters.

Senzel returned to the Reds lineup this past week and has appeared in two Cactus League games after spending some time the previous week on the backfield and getting in work in minor league games.

The Reds plan this season for Senzel is very similar to plan they had laid out for Chad Pinder - super utility player. Bell has spoken recently about the idea of moving Senzel around the diamond and getting him reps, not only in center field, but also at second and third base, as well as the corner outfield.

The Reds have much more roster flexibility with Senzel. While the plan is to place him on the IL prior to the season and send him to Triple-A Louisville on a rehab assignment, perhaps now the team will prefer to option Senzel to the minor leagues and recall him when he's ready to roll.

If Nick Senzel is indeed the player that David Bell would choose to play, both he and Chad Pinder are right-handed batters and play similar positions. Senzel is younger, has minor-league options remaining, and is under team control through 2025.

3. Henry Ramos has impressed the Reds coaching staff this spring.

This is also a signal that despite leaving spring training to participate in the World Baseball Classic, Henry Ramos did nothing to hurt his standing with the Cincinnati Reds coaching staff. One would think that Ramos is likely to land a spot on the Reds Opening Day roster.

Ramos was tearing it up earlier this spring before joining Team Puerto Rico in the WBC. Ramos received very little playing time while participating in the event, but showed no signs of slowing down once he returned to Goodyear.

In Ramos first at-bat after returning to Reds camp, the 30-year-old blasted his first home run of the spring. In Cactus League play, Ramos is hitting .524/.542/.810, has four extra-base hits, six RBIs, and only two strikeouts.

Ramos can play all over the outfield and bats from both sides of the plate. While he has yet to have much success in the major leagues, Ramos has shown flashes this spring, and it's very likely he'll be heading north with the club next week.

Henry Ramos also has minor-league options remaining, meaning if he's added to the 40-man roster, the Cincinnati Reds could send him up and down as necessary this season. Look for Ramos' name to be among the 26 players headed to the Queen City next week.

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