Robbie Grossman showing how Oakland A’s bombed previous offseason
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s have been unable to get the outfield production they had hoped for in right field. Stephen Piscotty had been a disaster once again before landing on the Injured List. They attempted to cobble together the position, using a cast of minor leaguers and backups. Needless to say, that has not worked.
But the answer had been right there ready to return. Robbie Grossman had been a solid part of the A’s lineup before entering free agency last offseason. He signed in Detroit on a two year, $10 million contract, a reasonable amount that even the A’s should have been able to match.
Oakland A’s could use Robbie Grossman right about now
Grossman had emerged as a solid starting outfielder in Oakland. A revamped swing allowed him to tap into his power last season as he posted a career best 127 OPS+ in 2020. While there were questions as to whether or not he could replicate that success, he was more than a reasonable gamble at that price.
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As it turns out, Grossman not only replicated his success, but is in the midst of a career year. He has produced a .236/.353/.421 batting line in his 572 plate appearances entering Monday, hitting 21 homers and 19 doubles while stealing 16 bases. Both his home run and stolen base totals are easily career highs as he has been far more than the Tigers could have hoped for.
Obviously, there is no guarantee that he would produce at that level in Oakland. However, it is not a stretch to say that Grossman would have been a better option than anything the A’s have put in right, short of the suspended Ramon Laureano. At his price, he should have easily fit in their budget.
Instead, the A’s spent the offseason crying poverty, only making moves once they were able to get Khris Davis‘ contract off their books. The A’s scoured the bargain bin, hoping to find a diamond in the rough that could help them contend. Instead, that approach has led to major gaps in the roster which have become evident down the stretch, leading to their falling out of the playoff chase.
One player may not make a major difference. However, one could argue that having Grossman in the lineup this season could have changed the outcomes of a few games. Instead of hoping to remain ahead of the Mariners, let alone reach the postseason, the A’s could be in one of the Wild Card spots.
Robbie Grossman is having a career year with the Detroit Tigers. The Oakland A’s could use that production right about now.