Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Grossman joins crowded A's outfield

Switch-hitter expected to receive bulk of starts in left field
February 15, 2019

MESA, Ariz. -- Even as the first week of A's camp winds down, new players keep showing up.On Friday, it was Robbie Grossman, who joins a crowded Oakland outfield."We find a way to make additions a little bit later, and I think the marketplace may have a little something to

MESA, Ariz. -- Even as the first week of A's camp winds down, new players keep showing up.
On Friday, it was Robbie Grossman, who joins a crowded Oakland outfield.
"We find a way to make additions a little bit later, and I think the marketplace may have a little something to do with that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Our guys understood early on we might have some guys fall to us at some point."
"Being in that situation, it's tough right now, especially how the market is," Grossman said, "but I'm excited to land here, and I'm excited to be an Oakland A."
Grossman brings a .355 career on-base percentage to a club that strongly covets this kind of production. He also complicates the outfield picture.
The A's originally appeared poised to carry holdovers Stephen Piscotty, Ramón Laureano, Nick Martini, Mark Canha and Chad Pinder into the regular season. Yet Melvin now anticipates the switch-hitting Grossman drawing the bulk of starts in left field, which would leave Martini or Canha as the odd man out.
"We'll see how it all plays out at the end of spring," Melvin said. "I'm not going to discount Nick Martini and what he's meant to this team. Canha and Pinder have been absolutely terrific.
"Typically in spring, things don't go swimmingly. You always want some additional depth, so [Grossman] definitely gives us that. Based on his track record here recently, chance he gets quite a bit of playing time."
Grossman, 29, hit .273 with five homers and 48 RBIs for the Twins last year. He's a career .256 hitter over six seasons, three each with Houston and Minnesota, and has done especially well against left-handed pitching, batting .286/.378/.406 in 645 plate appearances.

Martini also sports a high on-base clip, having reached at a .397 rate in 55 games with the A's last year. Canha, meanwhile, brings a healthy dose of power to the table; he hit 17 homers in 122 games in 2018.
It's a good problem to have for these A's, who also have Dustin Fowler to consider. Fowler hit .224 in 69 games last year and watched Laureano take charge in center field. Asked Friday whether Laureano is viewed as the everyday guy, Melvin said, "Based on what he did last year, I would say, yeah."
Grossman has long respected the A's; he got an up-close look at them while playing in Houston from 2013-15 and "always admired how they went about their business from this side," he said.
"I'm excited to be over here. I'm excited to play for a guy like Bob Melvin."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.