Why the White Sox trade veteran Robbie Grossman to the Texas Rangers for minor-league pitcher

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers spent the last couple of days discussing a possible trade.

The Rangers had familiarity with outfielder Robbie Grossman, who was part of their World Series championship team last season. And minor-league pitcher Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa was someone the Sox had liked for a while.

“(We) got to a point where it made sense to get a deal done,” Sox general manager Chris Getz said before Wednesday’s 4-1 victory at Tropicana Field.

The Sox sent the veteran outfielder to the Rangers for the right-handed pitcher Wednesday morning.

“The primary driver was we found an arm with the Rangers we really liked,” Getz said. “Robbie came here on a minor-league deal and was helping us, but the ultimate goal is to find these opportunities to improve our talent group at the minor-league or major-league level.”

Grossman, 34, was a late addition to the Sox this season, signing a minor-league deal on March 22. He joined the big-league team on April 5 and had a .211/.329/.268 slash line with four doubles, four RBIs, 13 walks and six runs in 25 games.

Manager Pedro Grifol described him as a “big-time professional.”

“Wasn’t afraid to talk, has a world of experience, wasn’t afraid to share his knowledge,” Grifol said before Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. “Embraced the development part of it, the teaching part of it. Very easy to talk to, but also firm in his routine and his knowledge of the game, which was a really good thing.

“And on the field, the way he approached an at-bat was a teaching moment for everybody. He has incredible knowledge of the strike zone. Doesn’t really swing at bad pitches. Knows when to hunt pitches, when to ambush, when not to. Just knows the game all the way around.”

Grossman had 10 home runs and 49 RBIs in 115 games for the Rangers in 2023.

“We appreciate what he’s done with us,” Getz said of the switch-hitter. “(The Rangers) were looking for some right-handed at-bats to be more effective against some lefties.”

As for the timing, Getz said, “You rewind back to September with the openness to look for opportunities to improve the long-term health of the organization, with the transactions we made with the Aaron Bummer deal (in November), fast forward to Dylan Cease in spring training and we continue to have conversations now.

“The (trade) deadline is a date that stirs up a lot of transactions but it doesn’t mean deals can’t be done before that if it makes sense for both clubs. The Luis Arraez deal last week (going from the Miami Marlins to the San Diego Padres), teams are talking and looking to fill some needs. And when it makes sense for both sides, teams are willing to move forward with deals.”

Hoopii-Tuionetoa is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, one save, 16 strikeouts and one unearned run allowed in 12 ⅓ innings during 12 relief appearances with Double-A Frisco this season.

The 23-year-old ranked first among Texas League relievers in ERA and second in WHIP and opponents average (.167).

He has been assigned to the Double-A Birmingham roster.

“We’re excited about bringing in a player of Hoopii-Tuionetoa’s caliber,” Getz said. “He has three really good pitches, good delivery and there are some elements of his game that can be improved as well, with his changeup and his usage.

“We’re excited to add him to our farm system.”

Grossman had largely hit at or near the top of the order when he was in the Sox lineup. Tommy Pham filled the leadoff role Wednesday.

Related Articles

The team’s outfield depth includes Pham and Andrew Benintendi as starters in center and left, respectively. Gavin Sheets has made the most starts in right field. Rafael Ortega and infielder/outfielder Zach Remillard, who rejoined the team from Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday, are other options.

Center fielder Luis Robert Jr. continues to work his way back from a right hip flexor strain. Grifol said Robert had “a little bit of a setback” recently, but “it wasn’t a big deal.”

“It was just part of it,” Grifol said. “He was going great. And he’s still going good. I heard he bounced back really good. We’ll see how that goes. But it’s going to take a little bit. You can’t rush that. His injury was significant, so you can’t rush that.”

Robert has been on the injured list since April 6 after suffering the injury the previous night at Kansas City.

“He was a little hesitant early in the week,” Getz said. “He feels pretty good, so we’re going to monitor that, no one is too concerned with it. We still feel like he’s going to get into game action relatively soon, get some at-bats at (the team’s) Arizona (complex) and join an affiliate at some point.

“We’re not too concerned but we want to make sure he’s fully healthy before we get him in any game action.”