The SF Giants are in need of an outfield bat and one Detroit Tigers outfielder would be a perfect trade target. Robbie Grossman brings a diverse skillset to the table that the Giants could leverage in several different ways. The only question is, are the Tigers looking to deal the switch-hitting outfielder?
SF Giants: Detroit Tigers outfielder would be perfect trade target
In the offseason, I thought that Grossman would have been a perfect free-agent addition. After signing a two-year, $10 million pact with the Tigers, I still believe he could help this team out, especially considering that the Giants have received subpar performances from Austin Slater and Alex Dickerson.
Slater has posted a .694 OPS in 221 plate appearances in 2021, whereas Dickerson has registered a .710 OPS in 220 plate appearances. Both showed more promise last season, but they have struggled to regain that form.
The Giants have an obvious need for a corner outfielder as the left-field position has combined to generate a .675 OPS, which is the worst offensive production of any position. Against left-handed pitching, the Giants have slashed a .242/.327/.411 as well.
This is all to point out that the Giants should be in the market for outfield help and Robbie Grossman would be a sensible addition. At this stage in his career, the 31-year-old is limited to either corner outfield position on defense. He has never graded out well with the glove, but he has shown improvement in recent seasons. Despite this, he would be no worse than Dickerson in left field.
Grossman generates most of his value in the batter’s box. In 2021, he has slashed .231/.357/.414 (118 OPS+) with 54 runs, 48 RBI, and 16 home runs in 428 plate appearances while being worth 2.1 WAR. The OPS+ indicates that he has been 18 percent better than the league average hitter.
The switch-hitter has a knack for controlling the strike zone as he has posted a 15.4 percent walk rate against a 23.1 strikeout rate. His selectivity would mesh well with an organization that emphasizes making the right swing decisions.
Unlike many switch-hitters, Grossman does not demonstrate extreme platoon splits. In 2021, he has registered an .861 OPS against left-handed pitchers, whereas he has produced a .733 OPS against right-handed hurlers.
Clearly, he does not have as much success against righties, but he still finds a way to create value by posting a .349 on-base percentage. He can be an everyday player, or he could be a player that the Giants leverage against southpaws.
In each scenario, he would bring more value to the table than either Austin Slater or Alex Dickerson have demonstrated in 2021.
However, the Tigers might need to be swayed to make a deal. After all, they have tallied eight wins in 12 games since the All-Star break. This is one of the better streaks they have had in recent years, so there is some risk that the front office might frustrate the team by trading away one of its better players.
Cost is another factor. Grossman is not a brand name, but he may still net the Tigers a mid-level prospect or two. It is hard to guess his market because a player of his caliber and contract status has not been traded yet this year.
The trade deadline is right around the corner and the SF Giants will be buyers but their approach is not yet known. If the Tigers are willing to move Robbie Grossman, the Giants would add much-needed depth to an area of the roster that has struggled to produce.