The Athletics placed infielder/outfielder Chad Pinder on the 10-day disabled list with a left elbow laceration on Sunday. The move is retroactive to July 28. Pinder’s roster spot will be covered by second baseman Franklin Barreto, who was recalled from Triple-A Nashville.
According to reports from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Pinder sustained the injury in a car accident on Saturday. No passengers appear to have been seriously harmed; that Pinder was treated with three stitches on his left elbow and butterfly stitches on his arm, while his fiancée sustained a bruise. Slusser adds that Pinder was not driving the car at the time of the accident.
An exact timetable hasn’t been set for Pinder’s return to the lineup, and given that he won’t be able to swing for a while, it’s not clear how soon he’ll be able to begin a rehab assignment. Prior to the accident, the 26-year-old was in the middle of a career year with the A’s. He batted .259/.332/.453 with 10 home runs, a .785 OPS and 1.4 fWAR across 236 plate appearances in 2018.
Barreto, 22, is in line for his fifth cup of coffee in the majors this season. He has yet to return the kind of power that set him apart in Triple-A last year, however, and eked out a cumulative .214./.241/.429 line, three homers and a .670 OPS in 58 major-league plate appearances so far.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.