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Rays trade OF/DH Austin Meadows to Tigers for INF Isaac Paredes

The Rays also receive a draft pick to balance out the deal.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired infielder Isaac Paredes and a Competitive Balance Round B draft selection from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for outfielder Austin Meadows.

Meadows was a 100 RBI and 30 HR bat in 2021, making this trade a headliner for the Detroit Tigers. In return, the Rays add a right-handed hitting infielder that has more walks than strikeouts in his career, including in nearly 200 PA at the major league level.

In a corresponding move, the Rays will promote top outfield prospect Josh Lowe to the majors, according to Neil Solondz, and if that’s the only move the Rays make the roster is likely slightly worse to end the day than it was to start it, if only because the team is subtracting a 30 homerun bat from the line up in favor of an unproven entity.

On the other hand, the Rays needed to clear a place on the roster for Josh Lowe eventually, and doing so now likely maximizes the return for Austin Meadows.

Speaking of which: Meadows, in terms of the Delmon Young trade tree, is now succeeded by Paredes and whatever that draft pick becomes.

It should be noted that if the Rays were looking to make another free agent move and were to sign Michael Conforto to be their next DH, the draft pick acquired would likely be required as a penalty. Given the Rays decision to promote Lowe, that seems unlikely at this stage, but it remains a possibility.

The following is from the Rays press release:

Paredes, 23, made his major league debut in 2020 and has spent parts of the last two seasons in the majors with the Tigers, batting .215/.290/.302 (37-for-172) with two home runs and 11 RBI in 57 games. During his major league career, he has made 38 starts at third base, nine starts at second base and four starts at shortstop. In 2021, Paredes hit .208/.306/.319 (15-for-72) with three doubles, one triple, one home run and five RBI in 23 games over four stints with the Tigers. He spent most of the season with Triple-A East Toledo, batting .265/.397/.451 (67-for-253) with 11 home runs, 42 RBI and more walks (56) than strikeouts (47) in 72 games. Following the season, he played for the Venados de Mazatlan in the Mexican Pacific Winter League and hit .282/.437/.409 (40-for-142) with four home runs and 23 RBI in 42 games.

Paredes appeared in 34 games in 2020, his first career major league action. On August 21, 2020 at Cleveland, his first career home run was a go-ahead grand slam in the 4th inning off Adam Plutko. He became the 10th rookie in Tigers history to hit a grand slam for his first career homer and first since Brennan Boesch on April 30, 2010 vs. the Los Angeles Angels.

Paredes was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an international free agent on July 31, 2015 out of Mexico and traded to the Tigers in July 2017. In five minor league seasons, he is a career .272/.361/.424 (490-for-1,803) hitter with 52 home runs and 276 RBI in 499 games. He was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 94 overall prospect in the minors entering the 2019 season and the No. 100 overall prospect entering the 2020 season. In 2019, he played 127 games for Double-A Erie and was named the Tigers Minor League Co-Player of the Year and selected to play in the Futures Game at Progressive Field.

Meadows, 26, spent parts of four seasons with the Rays and hit .256/.334/.492 (308-for-1,204) with 65 home runs and 212 RBI in 326 games. Last season, he hit .234/.315/.458 (121-for-518) with 27 home runs and 106 RBI in 142 games, including .299 (40-for-134) with runners in scoring position compared to a .211 avg. (81-for-384) in all other situations. His 106 RBI ranked seventh in the American League and tied for fifth in franchise history, and were the most by a Rays player since Evan Longoria (113) in 2009. He led the majors with 19 game-winning RBI, which was a club record ahead of Longoria (16) in 2011. His 24 RBI in the 1st inning ranked second in the AL behind Salvador Perez (28) of the Kansas City Royals and his 40 RBI in the 7th inning or later tied for second in the majors behind Mitch Haniger (45) of the Seattle Mariners.

Meadows was acquired by the Rays, along with Tyler Glasnow and a player to be named (Shane Baz), from the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 31, 2018 in exchange for Chris Archer. He was selected by the Pirates in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2013 Amateur Draft out of Grayson (Ga.) High School. His brother, Parker, is an outfielder selected by the Tigers in the second round of the 2018 Amateur Draft. Austin and Parker both wore No. 16 for the Grayson High School baseball team. The Rams jointly honored the brothers’ success by retiring their number at a ceremony on the field in 2019. The school commemorated the moment by unveiling a sign shaped like a jersey, bearing their shared name and number.