The Detroit Tigers are playing their best baseball of the season, and outfielder Robbie Grossman has been a big reason why. Grossman has homered three times his last seven games, and his 1.040 OPS in July is among the best in baseball.
Robbie Grossman’s hot streak is certainly well-timed from the Tigers’ perspective, too, as he is one of their few legitimate trade chips heading into next Friday’s deadline. We’ve already looked at potential trade options for Michael Fulmer and Jonathan Schoop, so let’s see what the club could get for their veteran outfielder.
It’s possible the Tigers hold onto Grossman at the deadline. Detroit General Manager Al Avila spoke with the media earlier this week and made it clear the team is done rebuilding:
"“At this point, we’re trying to get players,” Avila said. “We’re trying to get better. Right now, we have no pressure at all to make any trades. … We’re on the upswing. We’re actually hoping to acquire players at some point, where and when it makes sense. We have no pressure to make any trades or move any salary. From a payroll perspective, we’re in a good shape.”"
Robbie Grossman may well be part of a plan to compete in 2022, but that doesn’t mean the Tigers shouldn’t listen to offers. And it doesn’t mean we can’t speculate on what those offers could be.
Robbie Grossman’s Value
Robbie Grossman had never really been an everyday player until this season. He always showed a broad array of fringe-average to average skills, but he lacked the defensive ability to be a regular center fielder, and his power was too light to profile in a corner.
But Grossman made a swing change in 2020 that has seemingly unlocked his raw power. His 15 home runs this season are already a career high, and he also has a career-high 12 stolen bases, to go along with career-best walk rate and perfectly acceptable outfield defense.
In short, Robbie Grossman looks like an average MLB regular. That doesn’t sound like much, but as we said on the most recent Tigers Minor League Report podcast, average is good. And for any team with a multi-year need, he’s signed through 2022 on a very reasonable contract.
Projected fWAR for 2021 based on ZiPS, 2022 based on last year of production.
Grossman isn’t a slugger who comes in and bashes a team to the pennant, or a gold glover who takes over in center field and makes the whole outfield better. But he does just enough to get a team an extra win or two down the stretch, and that can be the difference for a contender.
We estimate Grossman would provide $8-12 million in surplus value to an acquiring team. To FanGraphs that means he should bring something like a low-end 50FV prospect or and 45+ FV prospect. That feels a bit rich given the relative availability of outfielders, and the fact Atlanta recently landed Joc Pederson for a single 40+FV prospect in Bryce Ball. That seems like a more realistic target.
So what would like that look like for the Detroit Tigers? Hit the jump to find out.