Rays Trade Austin Meadows To Tigers

Meadows Heads To Motown

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Tampa, FL – The Tampa Bay Rays trade window seldom closes and just days before opening day Tampa Bay dealt Austin Meadows to the Detroit Tigers. In exchange the Tigers sent Isaac Paredes and a competitive balance group B pick (2nd round) back to the Rays.

The Rays have a unique ability to construct trades of popular players leaving fans with a sour taste in their mouth and searching for justifiable reasons for the move. This trade is no different.

It is fair to say that the Detroit Tigers a better team today with Austin Meadows in their lineup than they were yesterday. It’s also a true statement that the Rays are not as good of a team today without Meadows than they were yesterday with him.

So, why make the deal?

As we sit here today, this deal opens the door for Josh Lowe to make his first opening day roster. He will replace Meadows in the outfield rotation will receive an opportunity to transition from upper tier prospect to MLB regular.

In 2021 Meadows slashed .234/.315/.458 with 27 homers and 106 RBI in 2021. His OPS+ registered as a 117 (17-percent better than league average). Since being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Chris Archer1 trade he’s slashed .256/.334/.492 (126 OPS+).

Josh Lowe will attempt to replace Meadows bat in the lineup but add in an element of speed and a big upgraded defensively in the outfield.

Lowe was the Rays first round pick (13th overall) in the 2016 June draft out of Pope HS in Marrieta Georgia. Currently he ranks as the #44 prospect in MLB by Baseball America and #60 prospect by MLB’s pipeline.

Last season with the Rays Triple A Durham Bulls he hit .291/.381/.535 with 22 homers, 78 RBI, and added 26 stolen bases. He made his big league debut with the Rays on September 8th versus the Red Sox and collected his first big league hit.

With the added speed, defense, and capable bat, the Rays feel they can replace Meadows production while acquiring a targeted player (Parades) as well as an additional draft pick (~60-70th in 2022 draft).

About Isaac Paredes

Paredes signed with the Chicago Cubs as an international free agent in July of 2016. He was included with Jeimer Candelario in a trade with the Cubs in July of 20172. He made his big league debut with the Tigers in the Covid shortened 2020 season and appeared in 23 games in 2021. In his two big league stints he’s struggled slashing a woeful .215/.290/.319 spanning 193 plate appearances.

The future is still bright for the 23 year old infielder as he hit .260/.395/.450 with 12 homers in 315 plate appearances with the Tigers Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. Most impressively, he walked (56 times) more times than he struck out (47). In parts of five minor league seasons he’s slashed .272/.361/.424 while striking out 276 times and walking 222 times. He’s ascent through the minor leagues came while routinely being much younger than the average player at each stop.

He’ll report o the Rays Triple A affiliate Durham Bulls but it’s expected that at some point during the 2022 season Tampa Bay will call on Paredes to contribute somewhere in their infield.

Where Does This Leave Tampa Bay?

The Rays are positioned well in terms of a replacement for Meadows with Josh Lowe. Paredes may help in 2022 and will compete for the everyday job at 3b in the future. The competitive balance draft pick can be used in trade prior to opening day or will be utilized on a high ceiling prospect to add to their prospect pipeline.

Trading away the popular Meadows will have many fans scratching their heads as to why the Rays continue to operate this way. Hopefully, the answer comes in another 90-win season and push for a pennant in 2022.

NOTES:

1July 31, 2018 – Tampa Bay trades Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later, Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows. The Pittsburgh Pirates sent Shane Baz (August 14, 2018) to the Tampa Bay Rays to complete the trade.

2July 31, 2017 – Chicago Cubs trades Isaac Paredes along with  Jeimer Candelario and cash to the Detroit Tigers for Alex Avila and Justin Wilson.


I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.