Tigers Acquire Austin Meadows – MLB Trade Rumors

The Tigers announced tonight that they have acquired the outfielder Austin Meadows Rays for the infielder isaac walls and a Competitive Balance Round B selection. Tampa Bay has reportedly been shopping at Meadows for the past few weeks, and it will land in Detroit.

It’s a notable and largely unexpected strike for Detroit. There was no indication that the Tigers were looking for outside help, as they had apparently been content to open the year with a Robbie Grosman, victor reyes, Akil Baddoo trio. Best lead Riley Green However, he fractured his foot over the weekend and is expected to be out for six to eight weeks. It’s unclear whether Greene’s injury has increased the urgency for general manager Al Avila and his staff to add to the outfield, but they will do so by bringing on board a player who is only a few seasons old. withdrawal from an All-Star campaign.

Meadows was among the now-famous Pirate Rays at the 2018 trade deadline for Chris Archer. A top prospect during his days in the Pittsburgh farm system, he started off as a solid rookie before breaking out the following season. Meadows hit a whopping .291 / .364 / .558 with 33 homers in 591 plate appearances in 2019, emerging as one of the best young hitters in the sport.

He hasn’t maintained that pace for the past two seasons. The left-hitter Meadows fell to a 0.205/0.296/0.371 line in the shortened 2020 campaign, hitting an alarming 32.9% clip. It was obviously an abnormal year, and the former 9th overall pick rebounded last season – although not close to his 2019 levels. Meadows hit .234/.315/.458 in 591 plate appearances, somewhat making up for his 27 homers with a lackluster batting average and on-base percentage.

To his credit, the strikeout issues that had plagued Meadows in 2020 have been rectified. He stoked just 20.6% of his trips to the flat last season. His contact rate of 77.2% was in line with the league mark, while his average speed out, barrel rate and hard contact percentage were all a bit higher than average. Meadows was instead plagued with a .249 batting average on balls in play.

All of this can’t be attributed to bad luck as he has become more and more oriented towards the fly ball over the past two seasons. Among 135 batters with more than 500 plate appearances in 2021, no one had a higher fly-ball rate than Meadows’ 53% clip. It’s a recipe for hitting for power but also for poor ball results in the game, as non-homerun fly balls rarely turn into hits.

Whatever concerns one may have about Meadows’ batting profile, it’s still easy to see his appeal to the Tigers. In games over four big league seasons, he boasts a .260 / .333 / .489 cut line – offensive production that is 22 percentage points above the league average by measure of wRC+ . Although he hasn’t been at his best in two years, he was still an above-average hitter in 2021, and the 2019 campaign offers a hint of the kind of offensive edge he possesses if he can at again bring his fly-ball rate closer. to 42.9% this season.

Meadows has rather sharp platoon divisions. For his career, he is a .271/.351/.525 hitter against a right-handed pitcher. It has a more pedestrian .237/.295/.412 slash against lefties. The Tigers’ outfield was already a bit left-handed, with Greene and Baddoo hitting that side of the flat while Reyes and Grossman are hitters. Meadows doesn’t have to be a strict squad player, though, and the rest of Detroit’s roster is heavily right-handed. Presumably, Meadows will step into a day-to-day outfield role for skipper AJ Hinch, who may have the freedom to drop him a bit in order on days when the opposing team deploys a difficult left-handed starter.

It’s an immediate upgrade for a Detroit team that also added Javier Baez, Edward Rodriguez, Tucker Barnhart, Andre Chafin and Michael Pineda This winter. Avila and his team are clearly trying to pull back from their recent rebuild, and the addition of Meadows should be a noticeable improvement in offense. It’s not an outright victory, however, as the 26-year-old (27 next month) is controllable for three seasons through refereeing. Meadows and the Rays had set themselves a $4 million salary for 2022, and he’s not expected to enter free agency until 2024.

That makes Meadows a fairly affordable pick-up for Detroit, but he was part of a big umpire class that could have put a strain on the Rays’ payroll. Even after subtracting his $4 million salary from the books, Tampa Bay has a projected $83 million payroll for players, according to Jason Martinez of Roster Resource. The Rays would have made a run at Freddie Freemanso they were willing to stretch beyond their typical comfort zone for the right player, but this surprising pursuit still seemed like an acknowledgment of Freeman’s star status.

In addition to the salary constraints President of Baseball Operations Erik Neander and his team may have faced, they clearly felt prepared to tackle from a deep organizational position. The rays have Randy Arozarena, Kevin Kiermaier and Manuel Margot handy as outfield options. Best lead Josh Lowemeanwhile, looks set for a big league look after hitting .291/.381/.535 in 111 games for Triple-A Durham last season.

The team apparently thinks Lowe is ready for an important role in a team that aspires to the World Series. Neil Solondz, Rays pre-game broadcaster tweet that the club plan to recall the 24-year-old to break camp in the majors. Given his status as a consensus Top 50 prospect, Lowe will definitely be in line for the regular bats. He, Margot and Kiermaier are each possible plus defenders at the three outfield spots, giving manager Kevin Cash a chance to lead excellent defensive groups on the grass. (Arozarena is primarily a corner fielder but ranks well there in his own right).

In exchange for that outfield depth, the Rays add another young bat to their infield mix. Paredes has been on the prospect’s radar for a while, but he only recently turned 23. A right-handed hitter, he does not possess overwhelming power or athleticism, but he does have excellent batting skills.

Paredes hasn’t produced much in limited big-league action over the past two seasons. Over 163 plate appearances, he boasts a meager .215/.290/.302 line with a pair of home runs. However, he has posted excellent offensive numbers all the way down the minor league ladder, and the Rays are betting on those skills that will eventually trickle down to big league pitchers.

Paredes, who appeared late on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect in 2019 and 2020, is coming off a .265/.397/.451 performance in 315 Triple-A plate appearances. He hit 11 homers and walked to a whopping 17.8% clip while striking out just 14.9% of the time. Among 96 Triple-A East hitters with more than 300 plate appearances, Paredes posted the third-highest walk rate. No one in this group had a better walk-out ratio, with a minor league veteran Tyler White the only other player in the league to walk more often than he hit.

Although Paredes has experience at second base, third base and shortstop, he has mostly played the first two positions in recent years. He’ll come into a mix on the Tampa Bay field which itself is pretty crowded. Take a walk Franco and Brandon Lowe have the midfield spoken, while Yandy Diaz joins Paredes and other former top prospects Taylor Walls and Vidal Brujan in the mix at third base. Díaz assumes that some DH batsmen will be freed up by Meadows’ departure, which would allow the Rays to get some action for their young players in the hot corner. The three Walls, Bruján and Paredes still have option years in the minor leagues, so they can also bounce between St Petersburg and Durham.

The Rays have never been shy about firing players from the big league club to build long-term organizational depth. Paredes has just over a year of big league service under his belt. He won’t reach free agency until at least after the 2026 campaign, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he spends enough time in the minors this season to push that trajectory back a year. Tampa Bay is also adding a draft pick that will drop after the second round, currently projected for No. 71 overall. In addition to their own Competitive Balance Round B selection, the Rays now own four of the top 75 selections – along with the accompanying bonus pool space that storage picks provide.

It’s a fascinating affair between two teams looking forward to both immediate and long-term struggle in the American League. The Tigers add a potential bat in the middle of the order, bolstering an outfield fresh from an injury setback. (In a fun tidbit, they also bring up the possibility of Meadows teaming up with his younger brother. parker – a High-A outfielder in the Detroit system – in the Comerica Park outfield one day). The Rays continue to preemptively stock young players and raise capital, creating the kind of organizational depth that allows them to perpetually treat good players like Meadows knowing that other talented players are on the horizon.

Images courtesy of USA Today Sports.