Detroit Tigers year in review: Robbie Grossman with presence, production

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 28: Robbie Grossman #8 of the Detroit Tigers looks on after striking out against the Minnesota Twins in the fifth inning of the game at Target Field on September 28, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Tigers 3-2. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 28: Robbie Grossman #8 of the Detroit Tigers looks on after striking out against the Minnesota Twins in the fifth inning of the game at Target Field on September 28, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Tigers 3-2. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers outfielder Robbie Grossman delivered on expectations in 2021

The Detroit Tigers had another fairly quiet offseason leading into 2021, but in the process, they made their first multiyear deal since Justin Upton in 2015. Robbie Grossman was signed to a two-year, $10 million deal to patrol a corner outfield spot for the Detroit Tigers.

2021 proved his short surge the year prior was real. Let’s dive into Grossman’s season and his future.

Who is Robbie Grossman?

Grossman was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008 in the sixth round out of his high school in Cypress, TX. In 2012 before debuting with the Pirates, he was traded to the Houston Astros as part of a deal that sent pitcher Wandy Rodriguez to Pittsburgh.

He’d debut in his home state with Houston in 2013 as a 23-year-old but after a pedestrian .240/.327/.341 line across his first three seasons, Houston would release Grossman and the Twins would pick him up where he found his footing.

Grossman’s on-base ability flourished in Minnesota across his three seasons there but his power had yet to come around; just 25 home runs across his 1,110 at-bats for the Twins. Year one was more of the same with the Oakland A’s, but his 8 home runs in 51 games in 2020 made some feel he may be finding his power.

Robbie Grossman in 2021

That power surge proved to be for real; as he finished his 156-game campaign with 23 home runs and 23 doubles. His 20 steals also put him into a rare company with the franchise. According to

Chris McCosky of the Detroit News

, Grossman is the seventh player in franchise history with 20 home runs and 20 steals in a single season.

I tend to steer from the ‘leadership’ taglines because we don’t have clubhouse access or even understand the intricacies within what we hear and what happens. With that said, Grossman was very much the ethos of the club. As the season went along and the roster evolved, Grossman represented the brand of baseball the Tigers were trying to play. Give a tough at-bat, accentuate athleticism, and show a desire to be with the club and win.

Grossman was brought in largely at the recommendation of manager AJ Hinch, who managed Grossman in 2015 during his days with the Houston Astros.

Robbie Grossman’s 2021 stats

Robbie Grossman’s Future

The Detroit Tigers will have a decision to make regarding Grossman after the 2022 season. He’s been an above-average player on the field over his last couple of seasons, and outside of Riley Greene, there aren’t many ready-made outfield replacements for someone like Grossman.

He’s made it public that he would like to spend the rest of his career here which is telling to the club’s culture, but Grossman would likely command another multiyear deal at his current pace, leaving the Detroit Tigers with a decision if they’d like to pay market for a player that would be entering his age-33 season in 2023.

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