Among free-agent signings in the last five years, the Detroit Tigers signing of outfielder Robbie Grossman may be the best of them all.
Earlier in the year, Chris Brown put together the best free agents in Detroit Tigers history. If you notice one thing about the list, minus the J.D Martinez minor league free-agent deal, most of the signings were ones that happen more than 30 years ago.
The recent signings in the last few seasons have been starting pitchers who have not made it through an entire season without any type of injury or a stopgap measure (Brandon Dixon, for example)
I will admit when Robbie Grossman signed, I was not sure what to make of it. Outside of the swing changes he made while in Oakland to hit for more power, I figured the Tigers signed him for more than one season because he was a veteran bat that manager A.J Hinch had familiarity with.
There is more to it than just that as Tigers fans have learned throughout the season. His bWAR of 2.5 (fWAR 2.4) is the highest of his career. His walk rate of 14.3% is the second-highest of any first-year free agent signing. He currently trails Rob Deer, who in 1991, walked at a 16.5% clip in 134 games and put up an fWAR of 1.0.
Another first for Grossman is having 20 home runs. On the year, he has 20 doubles and just three steals away from 20 steals. If he gets three more steals, he would be the first Tigers player since Curtis Granderson in 2009 to have hit 20 or more home runs, 20 doubles, and 20 steals. Worth noting that in 2007, Granderson was one of two players to accomplish the same feat as Gary Sheffield would hit 38 doubles, steal 26 bases, and hit 23 home runs.
Over the weekend against Tampa Bay, his walk-off walk led to a series win. Grossman’s play this season bodes well heading into 2022 as he will continue to be a part of the Tigers’ path of being a contender.