The Rangers are reportedly on board with the veteran outfielder. Robby Grossman on a one-year major league contract. The deal, upon completion, will guarantee him $2 million and can reach a maximum of $5 million through performance bonuses. Grossman is a client of Lagardere Sports.
Grossman, 33, joins the sixth team of his major league career. He has played parts of ten MLB seasons, playing with the Astros, Twins, A’s, Tigers, and Braves since 2013. A switch-hitter, Grossman has carved out a role for himself in the outfield at various stops thanks in large part to its quality production from the right-handed batter’s box. For his career, he owns a .279/.377/.413 line with an excellent 13.1% walk rate and a modest 19.6% strikeout percentage against left-handed pitching.
The former sixth-round pick continued in his left-handed pounding capacity last season. He hit .320/.436/.443 in 149 trips against lefties. He matched it by hitting just .163/.253/.256 while showing over 328 plate appearances against right-handed pitching. That resulted in a modest .209/.310/.311 slash in 120 games overall, with Grossman performing below average both before and after a midseason trade from Detroit to Atlanta.
That points to Grossman taking on more of a situational platoon role, though that’s not usually an issue against right-handed shooters. While he is consistently better against lefties, he owns a .232/.335/.363 career line against righties that isn’t far below league average. Grossman has never hit for much power and strikes out more often from the left side of the plate, though he’s generally adept at working deep counts and drawing lots of walks regardless of the pitcher’s hand.
Defensively, Grossman is limited to the corner outfield. He has amassed more experience in left field, but has an extensive body of work in both places, with public metrics that rate him as an average glover. He will primarily take into account the left field mix in Arlington, with adolis garcia penciled in daily work in the other corner position. Left field is much more of a question mark, something Texas general manager Chris Young has suggested on several occasions that he was hoping to hit outside.
The Rangers’ left fielders combined for a .186/.253/.255 line last season. They finished bottom of the league in all three index stats, with their slugging mark nearly .080 points below that of the 29th-ranked Mariners. Grossman isn’t much of a power threat, but he should help the club to bounce back from a point guard perspective, particularly if manager Bruce Bochy deploys him more often in friendly platoon situations.
left-handed batting utility brad miller is entering the second season of a $10MM free agent deal. He had a dismal freshman year at Texas, hitting just .212/.270/.320 while missing half the team’s games with a hip injury. However, Miller posted a much stronger .250/.344/.487 line against right-handed pitching from 2018-21. Texas believes it will give him a chance to bounce back in left field, with Grossman available to take a few at-bats against left-handed arms.
sprinter bubba thompson and old prospectuses of the painting joseph smith and ezekiel duran they could all play their way to the left field replays as well. Neither of that group had much of an offensive impact last season. That’s also true of Grossman in general, though he’ll at least add a solid career record to a hodgepodge of possibilities in left field. It’s certainly possible that Texas will look to augment the group with a more established veteran in a midseason trade, particularly if they’re in the hunt for the playoffs by July, but they believe they’ll mix and match early in the season.
Adding Grossman’s modest salary brings Texas’ 2023 payroll commitments to about $198 million, according to Roster Resource calculations. That’s already in franchise-record territory, with owner Ray Davis and the front office going on back-to-back offseason spending sprees to try to get back on track. They are currently sitting in a six-year playoff drought, tied with Baltimore for the fourth-longest active streak in the American League. Grossman’s deal nets them about $221 million in luxury tax commitments. That’s $12 million short of the base threshold of $233 million, which leaves a decent amount of room for midseason acquisitions, even if they want to sidestep excess fees.
Signing Grossman is likely to take the Rangers out of the mix for any of the remaining free agent corner outfielders. Jurickson Profar he’s the best unsigned player yet and his market now looks as cloudy as ever. bengamel and tyler naquin they are among the low-key role-playing corner outfielders still looking for work.
Texas will need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster once Grossman’s deal becomes official. It is likely that this will come by placing a reliever Brett Martin on the 60-day disabled list. The lefty underwent shoulder surgery last month. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News wrote this morning that Martin is expected to miss all of rehab for the 2023 season.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post first reported that Grossman and the Rangers were in agreement. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that it was a one-year, $2 million guarantee with $3 million in additional incentives.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.