Even before the lockout ended, it was reported that the Rays would be open to moving Austin Meadows once transactions were allowed to resume. That’s apparently proving to be the case, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that Meadows is being “prominently” mentioned in trade discussions around the league. This morning’s four-year deal between the Phillies and Kyle Schwarber is expected to help the outfield market begin to move, Rosenthal adds.
Any team that missed out on Schwarber would figure to at least have some degree of interest in the 26-year-old Meadows, who swatted 33 home runs for Tampa Bay in 2019 and 27 long balls this past season. A poor showing in the shortened 2020 season has dragged down his overall line over that three-year term, but it still checks in at a healthy .256/.334/.493.
Meadows pounded left-handed pitching in his brilliant 2019 campaign but has looked overmatched against southpaws in each of the past two seasons. Some clubs will surely view him as more of a platoon candidate, but even if that’s the case, he’s a high-quality option. In his career against right-handed pitching, Meadows is a .271/.351/.525 hitter.
From a defensive standpoint, Meadows is best-suited for work in left field, where he has serviceable if unspectacular ratings from metrics like Defensive Runs Saved, Ultimate Zone Rating and Outs Above Average. He’s seen limited action in center and another 600-plus innings in right field but doesn’t rate well at either position.
The Rays currently control Meadows through the 2024 season, and he’s projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $4.9MM this coming season. That’s plenty affordable for any team, even the Rays, but Tampa Bay has a deep crop of outfield talent. Randy Arozarena, Kevin Kiermaier, Manuel Margot, Josh Lowe, Brett Phillips and Vidal Brujan (a top infield prospect who’s seen some time in the outfield) give the Rays the flexibility to make a move if the return for Meadows is convincing enough. Second baseman Brandon Lowe, too, has some experience in the outfield.
More interesting is that the Rays have been somewhat surprisingly tied to more expensive targets on the market. The Rays were linked to Oakland’s Matt Chapman before he was traded to the Blue Jays and had interest in NPB star Seiya Suzuki before he agreed to terms with the Cubs. More recently, they’ve been rumored as a long-shot landing spot for star first baseman Freddie Freeman, who penned a farewell message to Braves fans today and remains unsigned.
Clearing Meadows’ projected $4.9MM salary isn’t going to seismically change the team’s payroll outlook, but for a Rays club with designs on aiming bigger than it typically might in a given offseason, moving a roughly $5MM outfielder when the team has ample depth to replace him could free up some resources to address other pursuits. Even if the Rays don’t ultimately make a big splash with whatever resources are saved in a theoretical Meadows deal, part of the reason they remain so successful on a perennial basis is their willingness to market quality regulars like this even before their salary reaches the point that it becomes a legitimate payroll encumbrance.
CY get on the phone and bring him to Texas
This is what happens when you become a star on the Sting Rays. They trade you. Isn’t that nice? Smh
This is what happens when you become a star on the Rays, other teams want you and you end up getting paid!
@stymeedone- this is what happens when your favorite team continues to have zero rings. Nice bum way of running an organization. Maybe it’s time for Tampa Bay/Montreal Sting Rays to sell the team?
To the Cards, bet on it!
I forget who won the last two AL East titles. Such a bum run organization
@Sbmarch85- and how many championships with those last two AL East titles? Yeah that’s what I thought: Zero!
PLEASE DEAR GOD RANGERS, THIS GUY. MAKE THIS YOUR GUY.
I’ve endured your all caps posts for long enough. Mute button.
What do you think that trade would look like? I am with you in that this makes since for TX. Who do we add to finish the starting rotation. My gut says Pineda and perhaps Archer on low base high incentive deal.
Rays get: Foscue, Huff, Zavala, and Brett Martin
Rangers get: Meadows
I posted a comment a few minutes ago here that goes over my thoughts behind that package (I’m HufftheMagicDragon there): https://www.lonestarball.com/2022/3/16/22980821/wednesday-morning-links#comments
And ideally I’d like to see Montas or Mahle obviously fill out the rotation, but since that’s probably not gonna happen, maybe my pet cat James Kaprelian or Elieser Hernandez. Not flashy, but fills a spot with quality innings.
That’s a gross overpayment for Austin Meadows.
How about the Rangers take on Kiermaiers contract as well.
Rangers get KK & Austin Meadows
Rays get Huff, Hauver , C Bradford & Owen White
Phillies trade would be interesting.
100%. I like the OF mix quite a bit if that happens.
You mean you don’t want to see Schwarber tripping over his own feet out there?
I like Meadows. Pirates should never have traded him. Or Glasnow. Or Baz
They should have traded him. Just not all together and certainly not for Archer. No big loss. They failed to develop Glasnows control. Meadows is a dh and pirates likely wouldn’t have tapped into his power as well as the rays.
You’re right about not developing Glasnow. Epic fail. But Morton and Cole became true *pitchers* after leaving town.
As for Meadows, disagree. He may not be a gold glover but after watching Polanco, there are Legion players who could patrol the outfield more capably. And I think that power would have blossomed anywhere
Going to Miami
The problem I see is his best year was 19 when the ball was juiced. $5m is ok for most teams but with the way arb works he also could find himself a release candidate at the end of 22 if he doesn’t have a solid year.
….”part of the reason they remain so successful on a perennial basis is their willingness to market quality regulars like this even before their salary reaches the point that it becomes a legitimate payroll encumbrance.”
Pretty much sums it up, they are creative and right in their decisions more often than not
It’s not creative it’s necessity . They simply can’t mismanage assets because controllable players are their life line.
It also helps to have no fan fair or emotion from the fans about the trades. Can you imagine the Yankees trading a young star in a competitive window? No chance, there would be backlash.
I give FULL credit to the rays staff and scouts for their ability to draft and pick winners in other farm systems, but it stops there. They don’t trade soon to be expensive players because they are smarter or more creative, they pure and simple have to do this.
Exactly on point. I’ve said before, the Rays FO have an almost unique advantage; they don’t have to worry about the effects of their transactions on their “brand”, since they don’t have a brand to begin with. They win 60, they draw 1M; they win 100, they draw 1M. Their performance has little effect on their bottom line. In fact, to a very large degree, their profit rests solely on keeping the payroll low and keeping the Revenue Sharing dollars rolling in.
Not to say they don’t do it superbly; no one doubts it. But it is easier.
Riiiiight. The Rays job of winning the AL East is easier than Brian Cashman’s job is with the Yankees.
@Avory- maybe we can trade you Ca$hman for Meadows, because Ca$hman has a cheaper salary this season?
It also helps that Rays fans are used to seeing new players arrive and contribute from the minors. They don’t become overly sentimental and start insisting they will become HOF players so they can’t be traded. Its not a victory moment that a player came from within.
I would beware of trading for a Tampa regular. See Archer, and Longoria among others.. The Rays seem to know when to pull the trigger and make a deal before the player starts to really fall off in value.
Jays need a left handed bat
Send him back to the Pirates
I think that the Pirates have probably blocked all of the Rays numbers by now, and maybe every phone in the Tampa-St. Pete area just to be safe.
And yet, I’d still like to see the kid back at PNC as a Pirate. Pipe dream, of course. No one is going to admit a huge mistake
The browns need a new qb…
Problem with trading with the Rays is they don’t need any more prospects … maybe if someone has a really good 1B to offer?
The Rays like pitching, pitching, and pitching.
The younger and more controlled the better, so they can work with them.
Josh Bell is pretty good except he will make probably twice as much.
Yea.. trade a good young player that makes your team better… that makes sense
Thanks for all the specific context!
You’ll be ok
It’s the Rays’ way, if you haven’t paid attention. They are the league’s best team at scouting and development, which explains why they often have a very talented MLB roster and one of the game’s better farms, despite their budget. Flipping a guy like Meadows could bring back a couple very nice prospects for them and keep the engine churning. Plus, as the article says, they have the personnel to cover for him. They’ll miss some of the power production, but will likely have better defense overall without him.
The best at this, the best at that.. ok so if their the best, where’s their WS championship? The Rays are in win mode right now, they shouldn’t be trading away their best players for prospects, they should be adding more MLB ready players around those guys. Trading for prospects doesn’t always mean that those prospects are going to make a big impact in The big leagues, sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn’t. Next year isn’t promised to any team. If you have a chance to win a WS right now.. go for it.
Um…hate to tell you, pal, World Series championships don’t define success except for those ignorant to the ways of the game.
Marlins have two titles, but how much respect?. Royals have had two good seasons in what, 30 years? And one of them happened to be a championship? Are you telling me those teams are more distinguished than others who consistently knock on the door with one good regular season after another?
People need to wake up. Three weeks of good play isn’t a measuring stick in baseball. It’s fun, but that’s about it. Unless you truly can sit there with a straight face and say the 1954 New York Giants were anywhere near as good as the 1954 Cleveland Indians. It’s baseball.
That’s where the budget comes in. They have a lot of very good players, but don’t sign guys like Trout or Scherzer. Maybe Franco develops into a guy with that kind of value. But seriously, I don’t see how anyone can look at their payroll and not be impressed with how much they get out of it.
Lots of respect for those teams (I completely agree) but all I’m saying is that they shouldn’t trade one of their biggest bats right now, when they have a legitimate chance to make the WS again with him in the lineup. They should keep him for at least another year and attempt to trade for or sign another bat while Meadows is still in the lineup.
My point is this.. build around an already great team, don’t subtract while you have a chance at winning. And it all depends on how you look at what’s a successful team (I agree with you that even if you don’t win a WS a team can still have a good year) but Jeter even said that every year the Yankees didn’t win a World Series, it was a defeat/loss (despite the team having a good year) And no, I’m not a ya Kees fan.
Thanks to hyrax, Avory, and others for having the patience and understanding to explain the Rays Way. I’ve been a fan since day 1 and just too exhausted with the ignorant and trolls. Sincerely. Good luck and enjoy the upcoming season!
Given their ridiculous depth, trading Meadows now might actually make the Rays better by opening up some playing time for younger, better players.
I’d have full confidence that Josh Lowe can at least put up a .750 OPS and 105-110 wRC+. If he hits like that and plays solid defense in the outfield, he’d be more valuable than Meadows.
Heck, if they wanted to, they could moneyball it and ‘recreate’ Meadows. Brett Phillips vs RHP+Manuel Margot vs LHP= .259/.341/.469 hitter
I’m a CLE fan, and I’m proud of what the team has accomplished (3rd best all-time record in the AL, a standing that has only improved over the last 25 years) but I’m always astonished how the Rays compete in the tough AL East. It makes me weary when I have to hear how “brilliant” GM’s are in the big markets…hey, you haven’t proven anything until you do it within the budgets TAM or CLE have to operate.. .
So I’m “ignorant and a troll” because I think they should keep a good player in their lineup vs trading him? Yea.. Ok. you’re overthinking it
@Baseball_dude- you are not ignorant or a troll, obviously @StPeteSting Rays is as delusional as they come. The guy is strictly fantasy world with no reality, so never even entertain his thoughtless comments.
Tampa would rather have Josh Lowe, and rightfully so
He’s not bad, but the Rays definitley have better options. Meadows split his time at left field and DH. He rated as a poor defender in left field and only had a .772 OPS. Most of that production came against RHP as well (137 wRC+ vs RHP, 61 wRC+ against LHP).
Come on Cleveland. COME ON. How about this guy after missing out on every OF up to this point?
Good call, talk about a team that needs an outfielder who can hit.
That’d be a really smart move for them. Then they can always flip him in a couple years when he becomes too expensive.
Now that the Guardians hired Neil Huntington as a special assistant, they will probably trade the farm to get Meadows.
He’s productive ish, but guy needs to hit for avg a bit better. Basic baseball isn’t a metric I like to measure off of, but sometimes it’s enough to go off of.
How long before Wander gets traded? What’s the over/under if I say 5 years.
We’ll trade him at the deadline for some replacement LED lights for our wanderful catwalks
@mlbnyyfan- that was the whole purpose of signing Wander to that extension in the lst place, trading him before he becomes the face of their poorly run franchise. The cheap contract Franco signed will definitely be a disservice for him in the long run, since Wander is a star already.
A “disservice” you say? What if he has a career ending injury? What if he’s in a car wreck? What if he declines as a player for whatever reason? Did he not have an agent? Was he absent family or professional counsel?
I get really sick of the mentality that a player can’t sign for life changing generational wealth. Honestly, now, this is a pathetic response by a fan of a big market team who is ticked off they won’t be able to rip the guy away from an “evil” small market team, you know the kind of team which does a “disservice” to poor, uniformed players.
@Avory- not to offend you, but those are a lot of what if’s. It was nice to see the Rays sign him, but it will be sad to see them trade him later on. They probably took advantage of a player that has been poor his whole life. Tampa Bay/Montreal never even though highly of Wander to give him a no-trade clause. What if the Rays don’t win a World Series? They will would move Franco via trade in a heartbeat. What loyalty they have with a player of his talent. Smh
His brother is in DET, and he would be an upgrade over Hill, Reyes, and Cameron.