Minneapolis — It seemed fitting that on a night he wasn’t in the lineup, did not play in the game and was traded immediately after the game, Robbie Grossman said his good-byes in full uniform and eye black.
“Detroit will always be special,” said Grossman, who was traded to the Atlanta Braves Monday night for 20-year-old left-handed pitching prospect Kris Anglin. “This jersey will always be special for me. And these guys in this clubhouse, that relationship never leaves. This will always be a special place in my baseball career.”
The Tigers signed Grossman for two years and $10 million before the 2021 season and he put up career numbers – 23 home runs, 67 RBI, 96 walks, a .357 on-base average and 20 stolen bases. He provided a template for the types of professional at-bats new manager AJ Hinch was preaching.
“I’m happy for him,” Tucker Barnhart said. “We talked every day about hitting. I loved watching Robbie play. I loved the way he got about his day. He was quiet but he came to work every day and he was the same guy every day, no matter if he was going good or bad.
“And that’s the highest level of compliment you can get as a player and a athlete.”
Things didn’t go nearly as well for Grossman this season. He struggled early and never got on track, especially from the left side of the plate. He was hitting .205 with a .313 on-base average and two home runs and 23 RBI.
“I had a blast playing for the Tigers,” Grossman said. “It didn’t end how I wanted it to. But it’s part of the business.”
Grossman leaves the 41-63 Tigers for the 62-41 Braves, 3.5 games behind the Mets in the National League East. It will be the first time Grossman has played in the National League.
“I’m really happy for him,” Barnhart said. “He’s going to a team that’s in the playoff race. That’s where we all want to be. We all want to be in a situation where you are playing meaningful baseball down the stretch.”
Grossman wasn’t thinking about that Monday night. He wanted to spend a few more minutes saying goodbye to his Tigers teammates.
“It’s always a weird feeling to get traded,” he said. “I’m going to miss this group of guys, miss the coaching staff and miss the people in Detroit…Yeah, I’m sad, but it’s part of the business. It’s not the first time I’ve been traded.
“I’m looking forward to my next journey.”
Anglin, who will turn 22 on Aug. 9, is still in rookie ball. He was a 16th round draft pick of the Braves in 2021 out of Bakersfield, Calif.