Oct 2, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Austin Meadows (17) hits a three run home run in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers were said to be looking for outfield help on Monday, and hours later, they got what they wanted with an eye-opening trade.

Detroit has acquired outfielder Austin Meadows from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for infielder Isaac Paredes and a Competitive Balance Round B pick in the 2022 MLB Draft.

The Rays get a bat-first infielder in Paredes, who struggled in his first two MLB stints with Detroit, but just turned 23 and is a highly-regarded hitting prospect. Additionally, the Rays get a draft pick in the 60s.

But the headliner of this deal is Meadows.

This is the second time Meadows has been traded, with the first deal being one of the most lopsided in MLB history: Meadows, Tyler Glasnow, and Shane Baz to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Chris Archer in 2018.

Meadows was a consensus top-10 prospect in baseball in 2017, and while the MLB production has been very inconsistent, he’s put together very solid numbers over four big-league seasons: a .260/.333./.489 slash line, 9.2 strikeout percentage, 22.5 walk percentage, and a 122 wRC+. He was exceptional in his second season (his first full season with the Rays), slashing .291/.364/.558 and being valued at 4.2 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) per FanGraphs.

In 2019-20, Meadows saw his batting average take a significant drop, hitting .205 in 2019 and .234 in 2020. He at least hit 27 home runs and slugged .458 in 2020, and was valued at 2.0 WAR by FanGraphs.

The production came almost solely vs right-handed pitching, though, so Meadows may be used as a platoon-esque player going forward. In 2021, he had an .871 OPS vs righties compared to a .563 OPS vs lefties. 24 of his 27 homers came vs righties.


But the very clear natural skill and evidence of star-level upside makes the Meadows acquisition a worthy one for the Tigers, who also added Javy Báez this offseason.

And Austin’s brother, Parker, is an outfielder in the Detroit farm system.

Here’s more reaction from the baseball world on the trade:

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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