Detroit Tigers agree to deal with outfielder Robbie Grossman


Detroit – It may not be the name fans were hoping for, but with the signing of 31-year-old outfielder Robbie Grossman, the Tigers have got the kind of competent bat they’ve been missing in recent years.

The Tigers signed a two-year $ 10 million deal with the former Oakland Athletic Grossman on Tuesday night.

“Robbie is a seasoned major league hitter and will bring consistent, competitive bats to our lineup,” said general manager Al Avila in a statement. “His name quickly became known as our front office began planning possible off-season additions and we all look forward to having his veteran presence both on the field and in the clubhouse.”

The stats line might not impress you – .252 / .350 / .380 with a 101 OPS plus in eight big seasons – but take a closer look. His base average career .350 is certainly impressive enough. The only Tigers who came close to this basic skill last season were Willi Castro and Jeimer Candelario.

But during his last two years in Oakland, he began to change the way he approached the plate. He started pulling the ball more, which helped him increase his stroke percentage by 134 points to 0.482 last season. In just 192 record appearances, he hit eight home runs, knocked in 23 runs, scored 23 runs and had a career best of 130 OPS-plus.

In the postseason last year he was 5:24 with two doubles.

The Tigers have had the fewest walks and strikes at or near the end of the American League in the past three seasons. Grossman is the opposite of that. Over the course of his career, he has had a strike rate of 20.9 percent and a gait rate of 12.6 percent.

Of 46 American League players who have played at least 500 games since 2016, he ranks fourth in the gait rate (13.2%), seventh in the strike-to-go ratio (1.46) and twelfth Place in the base rate (0.359).

“I’ve been fortunate to play for some great franchises throughout my career and I couldn’t be happier to put the Tigers on this list,” Grossman said in a statement released by the Tigers’ media relations division . “I’ve been to Detroit a few times as a guest player and I know how passionate the city and its fans are for Tigers Baseball.

“I’m really looking forward to working with my coaches and teammates in helping bring baseball back to Motor City.”

Defensively he has improved a lot. With the twins in 2016, he was saved minus 20 defensive runs. But in the last two years with the A’s he was a Plus-1 and a Goldhandschuh second in the left field in 2019. That’s where he’ll likely spend most of his time with the Tigers too.

The Tigers haven’t signed a multi-year player since the winter of 2016 when they signed Jordan Zimmermann, Justin Upton, Mike Pelfrey and Mark Lowe. Grossman can also earn up to $ 500,000 in incentives every year, according to The Athletic, who first reported the deal.

Grossman broke into the big leagues with the Astros and played for the new Tigers manager AJ Hinch in 2015.

The Tigers have so kept their desire to give their outfield an offensive blow this off-season so secret. Presumably, Grossman will go to spring training as the starting player on the left, with JaCoby Jones in the middle and Victor Reyes in the right.

And it is possible that the tigers are not ready to buy local help.

The signing of Grossman puts Christin Stewart’s future with the Tigers in further jeopardy, especially since utility players Harold Castro and Niko Goodrum can be used as additional outfielders and General Managers Al Avila and Hinch have discussed a long look at the potential Daz Cameron to throw.

In addition, the Tigers used the third selection in the draft rule 5 to select outfielder Akil Baddoo.

Grossman is the second free agent the Tigers have signed on a major league deal this off-season. Last month they signed the Jose Urena starter pitcher for $ 3.25 million for a year.

To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the Tigers appointed outfielder Troy Stokes Jr. to use.

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Twitter: @cmccosky