ST. PETERSBURG, FL. – Leave it to the Rays to trade a player who drove in 106 runs for a player who has a .215 career average in 57 games.
Of course, we know not to raise our eyebrows much anymore when it comes to anything the Rays do. After all, many of what seemed to be questionable trades over the past few years have turned out pretty well, haven’t they? Just look at the standings for proof.
Here is a look at Monday’s trade of Austin Meadows and other areas of interest ahead of Friday’s opener at Tropicana Field against Baltimore.
Making room for Josh Lowe: It is not so much what the Rays are getting in return for Meadows, who was rumored to be on his way out of St. Pete since the end of last season, but how it creates opportunities for others in the system while pocketing the savings. Specifically, it opens the door for the 24-year-old outfielder Lowe, whose only two career plate appearances (single and walk) were last September 8 at Boston.
Lowe, who was 4-for-21 with a pair of RBIs this spring, has nothing left to prove at Triple-A Durham where he hit .291 with 22 homers and 26 stolen bases in 111 games last season. The younger brother of former Ray and current Texas Ranger, Nate Lowe, was selected by Tampa Bay 13th overall in the 2016 draft. (Nate, by the way, was selected in the 13th round, 390th overall in the same draft. He hit .251 with 11 homers and a .771 OPS in 71 games with the Rays over the course of the 2019 and 2020 seasons.)
The Mexican-born Paredes, 23, has played 57 games with the Tigers the past two seasons and mostly at third base. He has 11 homers in 172 at-bats to go with his .215 average. He hit .265 with 11 homers and an .848 OPS at Triple-A Toledo last season.
The 26-year-old Meadows, who drove in 106 runs last season and was an all-star in 2019, was due to make $4 million this season. He is arbitration-eligible following this season and is under team control through 2024. His younger brother, Parker, is a Tigers prospect.
The Tigers come to the Trop for a three-game series May 16-18.
Recalling the 2018 Pirates trade: With Meadows off to Detroit, the Rays will not have one player on the opening day roster from the haul they acquired from Pittsburgh in exchange for Chris Archer at the 2018 trade deadline.
Tyler Glasnow will miss this season while continuing to recover from Tommy John surgery performed last summer. Shane Baz will miss at least the first six weeks of the season after undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his right elbow last month. The 33-year-old Archer, who returned to the Rays last year, signed with the Twins on March 28.
Rotation set: After Shane McClanahan gets the ball Friday afternoon to open the 2022 season, the rest of the rotation will feature Drew Rasmussen, Corey Kluber, Luis Patino, and Ryan Yarbrough. McClanahan (25), Rasmussen (10), Patino (15), and Yarbrough (21) combined to start 71 games for the Rays last season. Kluber, who signed as a free agent in December, made 16 starts for the Yankees last year after missing virtually all of 2020 with the Rangers due to a shoulder injury.
Margot extended: The Rays announced Tuesday that outfielder Manny Margot agreed to a two-year, $19-million extension that will run through 2024. Acquired from San Diego prior to 2020 spring training in a deal that sent reliever Emilio Pagan to the Padres, the 27-year-old Margot hit .254 with 11 homers, a .695 OPS, and 13 stolen bases with the Rays last season. In 600 career games, Margot is hitting .251 with a .694 OPS.
Saluting nurses: The Rays’ Salute to Service ticket program, which has been available to active members of the military, veterans, first responders, and teachers, has been expanded to include nurses throughout the bay area. Information on how active military members, veterans, and first responders can claim tickets is available at raysbaseball.com/military, and for teachers at raysbaseball.com/teachers.
Fan experience enhancements: New speakers and high-frequency tweeters installed at Tropicana Field are among upgrades fans can enjoy this season. As far as the culinary attractions, Korean spiced chicken sandwiches and ice cream nachos have been added to concession stand menus. Also, new at the Trop, is a baseball museum at each of four alcoves on left field and at field level.