Detroit Tigers: Austin Meadows set to return after adversity-filled 2022

Toronto Blue Jays v Detroit Tigers
Toronto Blue Jays v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Meadows avoids arbitration.

The Detroit Tigers have reached an agreement with outfielder Austin Meadows, avoiding arbitration as the offseason churns along day by day. Meadows and the Tigers found common ground with a one-year, $4.3 million contract.

It has to be hard for Scott Harris to get a good gauge as for what Austin Meadows might bring to the Detroit Tigers moving forward. After an adversity-filled 2022 season, he will get his chance to show Harris what he's made of in 2023.

The new contract comes in just slightly over where MLB Trade Rumors had him slated to be. Their model had him estimated to get $4 million this offseason. He ended up getting a $300,000 bump from where he was estimated to be.

For Harris, there has to be some hope that Meadows is able to bounce back strong. In the Tigers' latest injury update after the season, they announced that Meadows had been cleared of his injury issues.

After managing to injure both of his Achilles, he has been cleared to resume baseball activities and get a regular off-season progression in. For him, getting back to 100% will be huge for him moving forward.

In 2022, Meadows played in just 36 games before things went entirely downhill for him. He managed 147 at-bats and slashed .250/.347/.328 with eight extra-base hits. Things took a turn for the worse, and things did not end as the Tigers organization would have hoped.

But, with the 2022 season not going according to plan, the Tigers need to see progression out of the left-handed hitting outfielder in his first season during the Harris reign. After being able to gain the all-clear, Meadows has a clean slate ahead of him.

If he plays a more significant role with this team moving forward, there's going to be a lot of work that needs there will to be done. He can still play a role with the Tigers outfield but has to come out and swing it in 2023.

There's a world where Meadows gets back on track and shows progress, but time is the determining factor here. He may have his one-year deal and have avoided arbitration, but he has to come out and post a clean season in 2023.

Meadows will become a free agent in 2025, so there's still time, but the question is if Harris's patience will last that long. He's going to continue forging the future of this franchise, and Meadows 2023 performance will carve his future.

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