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Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Tigers agree to two-year, $10 million deal with outfielder Robbie Grossman

It may not be the name fans were hoping for, but with the signing of 31-year-old, switch-hitting outfielder Robbie Grossman, the Tigers got the kind of proficient bat they’ve lacked in recent years.

The Tigers and the former Oakland Athletic Grossman reached an agreement Tuesday on a two-year, $10 million contract, sources confirmed to The Detroit News. The Tigers have yet to announce the signing, presumably waiting for the results of medical examinations.

The stat line might not wow you — .252/.350/.380 with a 101 OPS-plus over eight big-league seasons – but look closer. His career .350 on-base average is impressive enough, certainly. The only Tigers who came close to that on-base proficiency last season were Willi Castro and Jeimer Candelario.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 05, 2021 at 05:07 PM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: robbie grossman, tigers

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: January 05, 2021 at 07:30 PM (#5997614)
Grossman is a hard player to judge. He had a "big" 2020 but otherwise hasn't hit really well since 2016. Other than an atrocious DRS in 2016, he seems OK defensively (-8 in about 2 full seasons at statcast which again measures against the average OF, not average LF). So roughly an average LF. Possibly curious he could get 2 guaranteed years but 2/$10 seems reasonable enough and maybe what the Tigers had to do to get him to choose them. And in his last year of arb, he made just $3.7.

When Eddie Rosario was non-tendered, I was originally surprised but took a look at other average-ish player contracts over the last few years and that market has largely dried up. I don't recall who I looked at but here are some:

Tsutsugo 2/$12; Pillar 1/$4; Cesar Hernandez 1/$6; Y Gurriel 1/$7 + option; Smoak 1/$4; Markakis 2/$8 ... I'm sure there are others. So 2/$10 is pretty good for a guy who's never made it to 500 PA (and he's a switch-hitter without a major platoon split).
   2. TJ Posted: January 05, 2021 at 08:09 PM (#5997618)
Two guaranteed years, $10 million for a 31-year old outfielder with little upside. How much more would it have cost to sign Kyle Schwarber, younger and with more upside that may be reachable when the Tigers might again be competitive?

Gross man is a nice piece for a contender to have, but not so nice that he would command much of a prospect in trade. I fail to see the rationale here for a rebuilding team like my beloved Tigers...
   3. Walt Davis Posted: January 05, 2021 at 09:35 PM (#5997625)
#2 ... fair point on Schwarber (and we can add Rosario and maybe some others). I guess we'll see what they sign for. But the rationale is that you still need to win a few games, Grossman is decent and makes the team a tiny bit better. I think rebuilding teams should bring in a few decent players here and there to keep fans at least a bit onside and to not put a AA/AAA team out there every night. (As long as they aren't blocking anybody.) And these days, there's really no other way for the Tigers to spend this money except on other FAs -- international and draft spending are capped, MLB just reduced minor-league costs ... unless the stadium needs some upgrading, it's otherwise going into the Illich family pockets never to be seen again.

Still, a few ShwarBombs are probably more entertaining for the fans than a season's worth of Grossman.
   4. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: January 06, 2021 at 06:49 AM (#5997641)
I fail to see the rationale here for a rebuilding team like my beloved Tigers

Between this and the Urena signing, it's obvious the Tigers have already given up on 2021, if not the entire decade.
   5. . Posted: January 06, 2021 at 07:44 AM (#5997644)
unless the stadium needs some upgrading, it's otherwise going into the Illich family pockets never to be seen again.


Unless they donate it to charity or the arts or something similar that's far more important and socially useful than baseball, anyway .....
   6. reech Posted: January 06, 2021 at 11:07 AM (#5997679)
Spending 10 million bucks on a replacement level player is why teams like the Tigers remain lousy.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 06, 2021 at 02:01 PM (#5997708)
But the rationale is that you still need to win a few games, Grossman is decent and makes the team a tiny bit better. I think rebuilding teams should bring in a few decent players here and there to keep fans at least a bit onside and to not put a AA/AAA team out there every night.
"The Tigers are going to suck, but I'm more interested in them because at least they signed Robbie Grossman," said nobody ever.
   8. Ron J Posted: January 06, 2021 at 02:24 PM (#5997720)
#7 The way I look at it, you can buy a lot of fireworks with 10 million dollars and more people will want to see that than Robbie Grossman.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: January 06, 2021 at 04:07 PM (#5997752)
Grossman is way above replacement levvel. You think "let's go to the park and watch guys who should be at AA and 28-year-old AAAA players who cost nothing" brings people to the park?

Of course the Tigers have "given up" on 2021. They played 400 ball in 2020 after playing sub-300 ball in 2019. You thought they were adding 25 wins of FAs this postseason?

Some Tiger OFs to be replaced by Grossman and their 2020 OPS+ (285 total PAs, a full season+ for 58 games):

Cristian Stewart 42
Daz Cameron 32
Jorge Bonidacio 64
Travis Demeritte 34

Robbie Grossman is almost certainly a much better ballplayer than Cristian Stewart (-1 WAR in his short career). The Tigers made themselves a better baseball team. Remember that? Supposed to be the goal. They did so spending very little money, money that has no other baseball-related potential use. That use of their money does not restrict their future performance in any way, it simply makes them a better team today and tomorrow than they were yesterday.
   10. Ron J Posted: January 06, 2021 at 04:16 PM (#5997759)
#9 I think I'd prefer to buy lottery tickets than pay for Grossman on a .400 team.

On the other hand, the Tigers track record says they'd buy expired lottery tickets so maybe not.

He's not a whole lot better than replacement level but there's nobody in the system that this blocks and it's not a major commitment so at worst it's meh.

I'd still go with the fireworks though.
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 06, 2021 at 04:28 PM (#5997763)
You think "let's go to the park and watch guys who should be at AA and 28-year-old AAAA players who cost nothing" brings people to the park?
No - but neither does Robbie Grossman.
   12. Ron J Posted: January 06, 2021 at 05:03 PM (#5997775)
#11 Almost no player brings people to the park. It's results. Well actually perception matters more than results and signing Grossman won't change the fans perception of the team.

But I can certainly see a scenario where signing a player at this ability level makes sense. Well two. He can hold down a spot while the future of the position works through the system without pressure (If this is the case for the Tigers I'm missing something)

Or you have a team just short of being a contender and an open wound at a position that he can handle and he could be valuable. Plenty of teams have gone nowhere because an unwillingness to find a mediocre stopgap.

But again, this isn't the Tigers. Random wins in the .400 winning percentage have almost no marginal value.

This is a bad old days Pirates signing. Defensible on the face of it and does precisely as much to advance the team as building a stack of ten million one dollar bills and setting fire to them.

The only thing in its favor is that the Tigers are obviously bad judges of the free talent market. He keeps one even worse decision off the books.


   13. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 06, 2021 at 05:10 PM (#5997776)
Grossman is a 1 WAR player. That is worth something. Is it worth 2/$10?
   14. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: January 06, 2021 at 06:30 PM (#5997795)
You thought they were adding 25 wins of FAs this postseason?

Not by signing stiffs like Urena and Grossman, they aren't.

The Tigers made themselves a better baseball team. Remember that? Supposed to be the goal.

Supposed to be, yes, but the people who run the Tigers (and their apologists) couldn't find their behinds with both hands, a magnifying glass, a hunting dog and that old Rand McNally Tripmaker floppy disk I find in my closet the other day.

Look, fellas, if you ain't even gonna try, there's 29 other MLB teams I can follow.
   15. donlock Posted: January 07, 2021 at 04:32 PM (#5998047)
There is no obvious way for a bad team to improve. Free agents don’t want to come to bad teams or to small markets. Getting first shot at the waiver wire is unproductive. The $100000 for a rule 5 guys has not been a winner. A team can trade its marginal players for low minor league prospects. Finishing last may earn the number one pick of high school or college players ; the results are inconclusive and often 5 or more years away. The major league rosters are not full of high pick stars.
When a team gets a good player by any means, often the player refuses a contract and opts for free agency. Ex Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Lindor, etc. so I don’t know how a bad team gets better. How will the Royals, the Orioles, the Tigers, Pirates compete and get fans in the seats?
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 07, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#5998054)
How will the Royals, the Orioles, the Tigers, Pirates compete and get fans in the seats?

Use all the high draft picks to sign the best prospects, develop them, and then spend some money to keep/augment them when the time is right.

The Royals won two pennants and a WS very recently. The Rays are usually good. The pathway is clear.
   17. Ron J Posted: January 07, 2021 at 05:21 PM (#5998071)
#15 There absolutely is a way to improve. Hire smarter people. Teams that stay bad for an extended period of time (hello my Orioles) have only themselves to blame.
   18. donlock Posted: January 08, 2021 at 12:02 PM (#5998289)
Orioles were in the playoffs in 2016. They drafted, signed and developed Machado, Jon Schoop and Zack Britton.
Couldn't re-sign any of them and lost them to free agency. The teams I cited have smart people in their scouting department/farm systems but that isn't always enough to prosper.
   19. Ron J Posted: January 08, 2021 at 01:52 PM (#5998354)
#18 Sorry but that's lame. The Rays more than any other team shows precisely how lame it is.
   20. The Honorable Ardo Posted: January 08, 2021 at 09:33 PM (#5998495)
We're confusing replacement level with league average. Is he above average? No; he has -2.5 WAA in a decently sized sample.

Is he above replacement? Definitely yes. Should you run him out there every single day? No. Is he valuable to a team that has played sub-replacement dreck in the outfield corners the past two seasons? I'd say it's worth 2/$10.

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