Detroit Tigers announce Austin Meadows will not return in 2023

Austin Meadows will not return to the Detroit Tigers lineup this season, raising questions about his future.
Mar 30, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;  Detroit Tigers right fielder Austin Meadows (17)
Mar 30, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder Austin Meadows (17) / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers announce that Austin Meadows will not return in 2023.

In April of 2022, the Detroit Tigers made a splash in the trade market when they went out and acquired outfielder Austin Meadows from the Tamp Bay Rays. Meadows came to Detroit in exchange for Isaac Paredes and a compensation-round draft pick.

When the deal was completed, there was a lot of excitement surrounding Meadows and his acquisition. While the Rays consistently record "winning" trades and find value in players deemed invaluable by other organizations, there was hope.

But, two seasons later, the Tigers have seen Meadows suit up for 42 total games. It's a tough scene for Detroit which has yet to see Meadows pan out as they had hoped, and the latest news continues to raise some concern.

Meadows has been battling health issues, both physical and mental. Last season, a slew of injuries and a COVID-19 bout left him off the field for some time. When it came time for a return after getting back to 100% physically, the mental health side prevented him from returning.

Meadows missed a ton of the 2022 season as he stepped away to tend to his mental health with the support of the Tigers organization. In 36 games last season, he slashed .250/.347/.328 with six doubles, two triples, and 11 RBI over 128 at-bats.

After taking time to get things right, there was an expectation that Meadows would be able to return to the diamond in 2023. Meadows has six games played with five hits over 21 at-bats. He stepped away from the Tigers organization once again as his mental health was not in a place where he wanted it to be, prompting him to step away to address it.

While the Tigers certainly expected more from Meadows when he was acquired, a lot can be said about the organization supporting Meadows through all this. But things could change. It has been announced that Meadows will be out for the remainder of the 2023 season.

There will be no last-minute return from Meadows in 2023, as he has been deemed done for the season. This move could signal the end of Meadows's time in Detroit. After the 2023 season concludes, it will likely call for the Tigers to non-tender him, sending him to free agency and avoiding the option on his contract.

For Detroit, this would likely result in them offering a minor-league contract to rejoin the ballclub. The Tigers have handled the situation well, and there has been an effort to get Meadows back on the field alongside his brother. On top of that, it feels like the team may extend the olive branch to allow Meadows to stay with the organization if he so chooses.

Meadows may not be coming back to the big leagues in 2023, or even 2024, for that matter, but it's not entirely out of the question for the Tigers. The one certain thing is that Meadows will not play again for the Tigers in 2023.

Next. Detroit Tigers need to upgrade catcher position moving forward. Detroit Tigers need to upgrade catcher position moving forward. dark