Why did the Rays trade away Meadows?

by Gary Shelton on April 6, 2022

in general

Did the Rays get enough for Meadows?./STEVEN MUNCIE

Wednesday, 4 am.

Here we go again, and there he goes again.

This time, the Ray-out-the-door is Austin Meadows, a popular young player with a good amount of talent. He follows the never-ending conga line of promising players out the door, and the thing you can most be sure of is this: Meadows shouldn't shut the door behind him. There will be more.

It is the Rays way, a relentless scheme that doesn't allow fans to hold on to pretty good players for very long. Great players, such as Wander Franco, the team will pay for. But a b-level player, a player who isn't quite a star, the team will turn over with fastball speed.

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Granted, it works. If you judge by payroll, the Rays are baseball's grandest over-achievers. They never have been able to win the whole shebang, but a lot of teams spend a lot more money than the Rays do without winning.

And so the fans shake their heads and move on. They say goodbye to Blake Snell and Charlie Morton, to Willie Adames and Jake Bauer, to Joey Wendle and Evan Longoria. They tweak the roster fiercely.

Which brings us to Meadows. Just shy of his 27th birthday, he's coming off a 27-homer, 106-RBI season, which is a lot of production for the Rays to make up for. In return, the Rays get a middle infielder (Isaac Paredes) and a draft pick which, frankly, doesn't sound like enough.

So why make the trade? The Rays insist this had nothing to do with payroll for once.

In short, the Rays traded Meadows for the same reason they traded Adames. To make room for someone else.

This time, the person is Josh Lowe.

Granted, Lowe has a long way to go to fill Meadows' production. But the Rays felt he was due his shot. And they felt that Meadows was going to be a guy whose average was never quite high enough and whose homers were going to be closer to 25 than 35. He was going to be good enough to get paid eventually, but not good enough to carry a team.

Still, it is hard to see this as making the Rays better in the present tense. Once again, the predictors aren't exactly pounding the drum for the Rays in their season predictions. That's not a surprise. The Rays never impress a lot of people in April. Without Meadows, without Wendell, a lot of people can't quite see the Rays winning another division title.

Still, the Rays have a knack of proving people wrong.

Now, they'll try to do it again.

Without Meadows.

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