The Oakland A’s signed outfielder Robbie Grossman on Wednesday, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It’s a one-year MLB contract. The base salary is around $2 million, adds Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. A corresponding move has not yet been announced to make room on the 40-man roster, but presumably someone will be transferred to the 60-day injured list.
The switch-hitting Grossman has been in the majors for the last six seasons, three each with the Astros and Twins. In Minnesota he carved out a semi-regular role on a young club trying to jump up toward contention, starting around 100 games per year from 2016-18. His calling card is elite plate discipline, as he can maintain a top-notch walk rate but also keep the strikeouts down. He doesn’t hit for a high average, and his power is modest, but his mastery of the zone and ensuing on-base ability made him an above-average hitter during his time with the Twins (numbers below in 1,310 plate appearances).
Grossman, 2016-18: .266/.371/.400, 112 wRC+, 25 HR, 13.9% BB, 19.7% Ks
Since 2016, that 13.9% walk rate ranks 12th-best in all of MLB (min 900 PAs), behind a list of mostly superstars. He achieved that mark by becoming the most patient hitter in baseball, says Eno Sarris at FanGraphs, with a Votto-level ability to not chase pitches outside the zone. Accordingly, he’s also continued to drop that strikeout rate over time, as his 2018 numbers show on their own (in 465 PAs).