AL West Check-In: Rangers trade to re-acquire World Series player

May 8, 2024, 1:02 PM

Texas Rangers trade Robbie Grossman...

Texas Rangers' Robbie Grossman, is congratulated after hitting a home run on March 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

(AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

The Texas Rangers made a trade to reacquire one of their World Series players on Wednesday, landing switch-hitting outfielder Robbie Grossman from the Chicago White Sox.

Grossman is expected to return to a familiar role with the Rangers, getting at-bats as a designated hitter or outfielder against left-handed pitchers.

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“Historically, a very good platoon split guy from the right side, an area that we need a little assistance,” general manager Chris Young said in a Zoom call with reporters. “Beyond that, the intangibles he brings, the veteran presence, quality of at-bat. He’s exactly what we need.”

On the day of the trade, the Texas Rangers (21-16) entered just a half-game ahead of the Seattle Mariners (20-16) for first place in the American League West.

MLB standings

Grossman landed in the Bay Area after a cross-country flight from Atlanta and was available off the bench for both games of a doubleheader against the Oakland Athletics. Manager Bruce Bochy didn’t want to alter his planned lineups on short notice or risk an injury for Grossman after a long travel day.

“It gives us a right-handed bat, a switch-hitter but most of the time will be against lefties,” Bochy said. “… We know Robbie, he’s a guy that can help out in different areas, DH, play left field, right field. That’s what he was doing in Chicago, too, before we got him. His stronger side is on the right side as we know left-handers have been tough on him, so it will give us another right-handed bat in there.”

Also Wednesday, the Rangers placed right-handed starter Dane Dunning on the 15-day injured list retroactive to Sunday with a strained rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder. He’s expected to return after the minimum time on the IL.

After going to the White Sox on a minor league deal in free agency during the offseason, Grossman was called up a week into this season when outfielder and designated hitter Eloy Jiménez was placed on the 10-day injured list. Grossman hit .211 with no homers and four RBIs in 19 games for Chicago but batted .375 (6 for 16) with two doubles and four walks against left-handed pitchers.

Texas sent minor league right-hander Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa to the White Sox. Left-handed pitcher Kolton Ingram was designated for assignment by the Rangers to make room on their 40-man roster.

Grossman hit .238 with 10 homers and 49 RBIs in 115 games last season while helping the Rangers win their first World Series title. He batted .309 with five homers against left-handers.

Rookie outfielder Wyatt Langford, a right-handed hitter who had started 31 games this season, could be out a month after going on the injured list this week with a strained right hamstring. And the Rangers expect to be without All-Star third baseman Josh Jung, who also hits right-handed, for at least six more weeks in his recovery from a right wrist fracture after he was hit by a pitch in the fourth game of the season.

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Young said Texas had been considering a deal for a couple of weeks, and the injury to Langford made it more of an immediate need. But the GM also insisted the move wasn’t related to the struggles of rookie Evan Carter, a left-handed hitter batting only .087 (2 for 23 with 10 strikeouts) against lefties this season.

“This isn’t just a stopgap … He was an important piece for our playoff team,” Young said of Grossman. “We’re a young team and, I think, certainly somebody of Robbie’s presence is going to help stabilize the lineup.”

Texas announced the trade before a doubleheader in Oakland between the Rangers and A’s, and Grossman was on the way from other side of the country because the White Sox were in the middle of a series at Tampa Bay. Texas will have to make another move to add him to its active roster when he reports to the club.

A 12-year MLB veteran, the 34-year-old Grossman has a career .243 batting average with 90 home runs and 419 RBIs over 1,151 games with Houston (2013-15), Minnesota (2016-18), Oakland (2019-20), Detroit (2021-22), Texas and the White Sox.

Hoopii-Tuionetoa was 1-0 with a save while allowing only one unearned run in his 12 1/3 innings over his 10 relief appearances at Double-A Frisco this season. Ingram was acquired by the Rangers from the New York Mets in a waiver claim on April 24 and assigned to Triple-A Round Rock.

Seattle Sports staff made alterations to this post.

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AL West Check-In: Rangers trade to re-acquire World Series player