The Indians have agreed to terms with outfielder Robbie Grossman on a minor league deal, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). Grossman, who turned 26 in September, was released by the Astros back in November as clubs set their 40-man rosters to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft.
Not long ago, Grossman was considered a potential building block for the Astros. Acquired in the trade that sent Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates, Grossman debuted as a 23-year-old with Houston and batted .268/.332/.370 in 288 plate appearances. Over the next two seasons, he’d go on to bat just .222/.323/.323, however. Though he was generally regarded as a positive defender in the outfield corners, that level offensive output wasn’t enough to keep him in Houston’s plans, particularly not with players like George Springer emerging in the Majors and the acquisitions of Carlos Gomez and Colby Rasmus blocking a road to playing time.
For Cleveland, Grossman will bring a still-young asset to the table with the potential to rebuild some of the stock that made him a top 100 prospect in the eyes of Baseball Prospectus four years ago. Grossman has consistently produced strong OBP marks throughout his minor league tenure and batted .254/.354/.349 in Triple-A this past season as a 25-year-old. (He’s a career .281/.382/.387 hitter at that level). He’ll provide further depth for a club in need of outfield options with Michael Brantley slated to miss the first month or two of the season and little certainty elsewhere on the roster.