Austin Meadows traded to the Tigers
There have been some whispers for much of the winter that the Rays were open to trading outfielder Austin Meadows, who they received in the lopsided deal in which they sent Chris Archer to the Pirates, but nothing ever came together. That is, until Monday, just days before the season is set to get underway. Boston’s division rival traded Meadows to the Tigers in exchange for infield prospect Isaac Paredes along with a competitive balance draft pick.
We’ll start on the Rays side of this since this is of more consequence to the Red Sox. While it’s hard to criticize Tampa Bay too much considering their history in trades, this one seems strange at first glance. It’s true that Meadows is probably more of a platoon player (though the long side of the platoon) and doesn’t provide a ton of defensive value. However, the Rays always work well with platoons, and they have an open DH spot with the exit of Nelson Cruz, not to mention two great fielders in Kevin Kiermaier and Manuel Margot who can help cancel out some of Meadows’ shortcomings. In Paredes, they get a solid infield prospect, though that’s not exactly an area in which they’re lacking. That said, this does open up a clear spot for playing time for top prospect Josh Lowe, so they shouldn’t be too worse off after this deal.
On the other end, it’s nice to see the Tigers going for it, and they’ve got something interesting going on over there in Detroit. I think they’re still another year away, but they’ve got recent top overall pick Spencer Torkelson starting the year in the majors, and top prospect Riley Greene should be there after he recovers from injury as well. Throw in a handful of recent top pitching draft selections, and there’s a ton of upside here. Meadows should slot right into the middle of this lineup against righties, giving them much-needed power from the left side.
Why Red Sox fans should care: Well, the Red Sox do need an outfielder, but a lefty who can’t field is probably not the best fit. Plus, the Rays presumably would have commanded more from a division rival, and justifiably so. With that in mind, the real takeaway for Red Sox fans here is probably that the Rays look like they got a little worse in the short-term, which is notable in this competitive division.
- The White Sox signed Johnny Cueto to a minor-league deal. Chicago has been dealing with a whole lot of pitching questions thanks to injuries to Lance Lynn and Garrett Crochet, as well as trading away Craig Kimbrel. Last season in 114 2⁄3 innings with the Giants, Cueto pitched to a 4.08 ERA and a 4.05 FIP. The Red Sox need pitching, though they likely would have needed to make this a major-league deal to get this done, and it’s arguable as to whether or not that’s worth it, especially with their roster crunch.