Rangers sign Grossman, adding LF platoon option

February 18th, 2023

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers' left-field competition added a new face on Friday, when the club announced it had signed veteran outfielder to a one-year deal worth $2 million.

According to a source, the deal also includes $3 million in incentives, giving Grossman the opportunity to earn up to $5 million.

To make room for Grossman on the 40-man roster, left-hander Brett Martin was placed on the 60-day injured list.

“He's a good player,” general manager Chris Young said. “We think he complements our lineup very well. Certainly his numbers over the last couple of years, from the right side, have been very strong. He's a solid defender. He's a good baserunner. He's a great competitor. Good teammate. He fits our clubhouse and we think it raises the floor of our team and potentially lengthens our lineup.” 

Grossman is a switch-hitting corner outfielder who split the 2022 season between the Tigers and Braves.

In 2021, Grossman set career highs in games played (156), runs scored (88), hits (133), home runs (23), RBIs (67), walks (98) and stolen bases (20) with Detroit.

In 129 games in 2022, Grossman hit .209 with a .621 OPS, but his splits are what make him a particularly attractive option for the Rangers.

“We’re excited to get him, he's got some experience,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He's got some great qualities about him, he's starting with the clubhouse, he’s a great teammate. He also gives us another experienced bat in the lineup and the guy knows how to play the game. I've seen him up from the other side and so I'm excited to have him. I know that it feels a little crowded [in left field] right now, but it's good to have a good experienced guy that can do some good things with the bat and play good left field for us.”

Bochy mentioned the potential for a platoon in left field, even considering the personnel prior to Grossman’s signing. In 2022, Grossman slashed .320/.436/.443 against left-handed pitching and .163/.253/.256 against righties, setting him up to be an ideal solution within a platoon.

Brad Miller would be the perfect platoon partner with Grossman, with opposite splits. He has a career OPS of .765 against right-handed pitchers and .607 against lefties. Miller struggled with a right hip injury throughout his first year with the Rangers in 2022, batting just .212 in 81 games.

Other left-field options include Travis Jankowski, Joe McCarthy and Clint Frazier -- each of whom is on a Minor League deal in big league camp -- along with Bubba Thompson and a trio of former infielders in Josh Smith, Ezequiel Duran and Mark Mathias.

“We didn't address the outfield to such a significant extent, but I think we have improved,” Young said. “I think some of that improvement will be based upon how we deploy our players in order to make sure they capitalize on the opportunities that they give based on their strengths. Our job is to put them in the best position to succeed and if we do that, given the depth we have based on some of the unique characteristics of these players, we should be able to play better in left field."