The Tampa Bay Rays once again ducked having to pay a player some serious money when they shipped Austin Meadows off to Detroit for Isaac Peredes. Meadows is still some three years from free agency, but the Rays are probably fearing that second arbitration year like Baba Yaga. I mean, Meadows might make more than $4 million! Heavens to mergatroid!
Of course, in return the Rays get a 23-year-old shortstop in Paredes who has some gaudy numbers at both Double-A and Triple-A, and we know how this goes for Tampa. There wouldn’t seem to be any space for him with Wander Franco at short and Brandon Lowe at second. He’ll probably get most of his ABs from third, bumping Yandy Diaz to the DH slot that Meadows would have gotten some PAs from. It’s the Rays, they’ll shuffle everyone around and they’ll all hit because that’s just how it works.
Austin Meadows is an upgrade for the Detroit Tigers outfield, at least until Riley Greene’s foot heals. There are those that are quite bullish on the Tigers this season, but considering three-fifths of the rotation is 25 or under with barely an MLB starter’s season of work under their belts each. Coming off an abbreviated spring, it’ll be a small miracle if some combo of pitching phenoms Casey Mize, Matt Manning, and Tarik Skubal don’t hit the shelf with some injury for some stretch of the year. Javy Baez, signed as a free agent in the offseason, has seen his strikeouts climbing for four straight years, and Miguel Cabrera has been clinically dead for three. The Detroit Tigers need Meadows’ bat in the lineup just to get them to passable-plus on offense. But pump the brakes on this buzz that they could run with the Chicago White Sox. Not there yet.