With their central depth of field a sudden threat, the Tigers decided on Monday to add overall support to the outfield when they traded with Tampa Bay, bringing Austin Meadows to Detroit in a one-for-one trade for the infielder. Isaac Paredes and a 2022 draft pick, which will be awarded just before the third round of the draft.
Meadows, 26, was an All-Star in 2019, when he hit 33 homers and finished that season 14th in the American League Most Valuable Player vote.
An oblique injury wiped out most of his 2020 season, but while his overall numbers plummeted in 2021 (.234, .772 OPS), he still hit 27 home runs in 142 games.
The Tigers were planning on Monday to add a player who could make up for their outfield deficit after their rookie prize winner Riley Greene was lost to a broken foot, and center back Derek Hill was laid off. sideways with a bad hamstring.
They opted for Meadows, who brings more security to their outfield squad, at the expense of Paredes, 23, a multi-position infielder whose bat didn’t bloom as the Tigers had hoped.
Meadows is more of a corner fielder than a trustworthy center player (18 major league games there), but his relative versatility gives the Tigers freedom as they juggle their roster before the game. Friday’s season opener against the White Sox in Comerica. Park.
The Tigers had been torn between taking 15 position players and 13 pitchers, or 14 outfielders and 14 pitchers, as they prepare to leave Lakeland Wednesday for Detroit and for Opening Day.
With the sudden loss of Greene and Hill, the team was struggling for usable depth of field. Trustworthy reserves were so thin that the Tigers faced the uncomfortable prospect of bringing an infielder, Willi Castro, to Detroit as an outfielder reserve.
That pick is now moot as the Tigers add Meadows, a former first-round pick (ninth overall) by the Rays in 2013.
There’s no debating how Meadows’ arrival influences the Tigers’ plans for 2022. Greene, 22, and a player so talented he can be considered a franchise prospect, will be the Tigers’ regular center once he returns from his damaged foot, which is slated for late May or early June.
Meadows is expected to be part of a multiple-choice outfield arrangement that will include Victor Reyes and Hill – once he recovers from his sore hamstring – as primary picks for Tigers manager AJ Hinch.
Paredes becomes the wild card in Monday’s trade, all because his hitting talent could still be exploited and evolve into the strength the Tigers thought they would get when he was acquired in July 2017, with the Cubs also bringing in Jeimer. Candelario to Detroit in exchange for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila.
Paredes was then considered a 19-year-old hitting prodigy who could provide the Tigers with a reliable two-way presence at shortstop or elsewhere in the infield.
But he quickly showed the Tigers that the shortstop and his heavy frame were not compatible. More problematic was his bat, which didn’t evolve as the Tigers had hoped.
A lack of power, surprisingly low exit speeds, and a development arc that apparently could have peaked early, became part of the Tigers’ strategy in trading Paredes.
Meadows, too, seemed to have hit a plateau for the Rays after his 2019 season when he hit .291, with a .364 on-base average, .922 OPS and a stunning 33 homers.
The oblique injury appeared in 2020 to have led to more difficult, long-term times for Parker, who played just 36 games in 2020 (.205, .667 OPS) before returning in 2021 when his numbers failed to improve. significantly improved.
Coincidentally, Meadows is no longer the only member of his family employed by the Tigers. His younger brother, Parker, was a second-round pick by Detroit in 2018 and is an outfielder in the upper echelons of the Tigers system.
Lynn Henning is a freelance writer and former reporter for the Detroit News.