Detroit Tigers: Taking a look at the Austin Meadows trade in retrospect

Winding the clock backward to look at the Detroit Tigers move to acquire Austin Meadows.
Sep 6, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Isaac Paredes (17)
Sep 6, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Isaac Paredes (17) / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at the Detroit Tigers trade to acquire Austin Meadows.

Rewinding the clock to 2022, it's springtime, and the Detroit Tigers are preparing for the upcoming season. The Tigers make a last-minute move, bringing in a new outfielder. It's a trade that makes the Tigers look like they are making out like bandits, acquiring a former all-star in Austin Meadows.

The Detroit Tigers traded Isaac Paredes and a competitive balance draft pick for round B, where the Rays took Ryan Cermak, an outfielder from Illinois State. While it's too early to know what Cermak will be, Paredes was looking to revamp his career during the trade.

The Tigers faithful felt like they were making out like bandits. Paredes had struggled to be anything more than a .215 hitter in Detroit, struggling to find his way after finally making his debut. It seemed that making a move to switch things up would be the best move.

With Meadows having a track record of producing in the Rays lineup, there was some excitement about bringing in the corner outfielder. But some folks pointed out that the Rays seldom "lose" a trade when it comes to their moves in the past.

Fast forward to 2023, the Rays seemingly have won the trade once again. Paredes went out in 2022 and had some stretches where he really impressed. He finished with a .205/.304/.435 slash line while managing 16 doubles and 20 home runs for 45 RBI over 331 at-bats on the campaign.

Paredes has come out in 2023 and has been a piece of the puzzle for the Rays once again. In 2023, Paredes has performed to a .254/.355/.501 slash line, managing 21 doubles and 29 home runs over 437 at-bats. He's stepped up and been an impact bat as needed for the Rays, proving to be an asset.

Meanwhile, the outlook on Meadows's performance has been beyond bleak in Detroit. Meadows has struggled to stay healthy. I'm not here to point fingers or comment on his mental health issues. To be blunt, I'm happy with the Tigers organization for offering help and support to Meadows. He has continued expressing his anxiety issues and has tried to work through these things with the Tigers organization.

It's been a struggle to see Meadows suit up for Detroit as he had a COVID-19 bout, dueling Achilles strains, and vertigo issues that also have plagued his time; it's been truly an uphill battle. I applaud the Tigers organization for how they have handled things, supporting Meadows however he needs.

But the recent announcement, where Meadows was deemed out for the 2023 season, begs the question of his future with the Tigers. While he can likely return on a minor league deal moving forward, his stint in Detroit stands at 42 total games played, amounting to 168 plate appearances. He slashed .248/.333/.322 during that time, with seven doubles, two triples, and 13 RBI to his credit.

It's not what the Tigers expected when they traded for Meadows. Meanwhile, Paredes has been able to revamp his career and find a home in Tampa Bay over the last two seasons. He attacks the pull-side well, and the Rays seem to be okay with the nearly .200 average, knowing he'll blast 20+ home runs a year.

Once again, the Rays have seemingly come up on the winning side of a trade. It seems to be on-brand for Rays baseball, who always finds a way to make things happen with their trades. The Tigers might come out on the losing side of this deal, as Meadows's time in Detroit may not be over, but the candles are running out of wax.

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