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Free Agent Profile: Austin Meadows is a buy-low candidate after two injury-riddled seasons

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Brennan Delaney
3 months ago
If the Blue Jays don’t land a big-name lefty outfielder like Cody Bellinger or Juan Soto this winter, there’s an interesting reclamation project out there they could try.
This is a free agent profile, where we look at available free agents as the off-season continues. In this article, we’re going to take a look at Austin Meadows, who hasn’t had many plate appearances since being traded by the Tampa Bay Rays a couple of years ago. 

Austin Meadows’ 2023:

Selected with the ninth-overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Meadows was moved to the Tampa Bay Rays as part of the return for pitcher Chris Archer. Meadows was later traded by the Rays to the Tigers for Isaac Parades. 
Over the past two seasons with Detroit, Meadows has only had 168 plate appearances and is slashing .248/.333/.322 with no homers. Of course, there is a reason for this, as Meadows has battled health, such as vertigo, COVID-19, tendinitis in the Achilles, and in 2023, anxiety. It’s important to remember that baseball players are also human as well and deal with everyday issues.
Meadows’ last full season was in 2021 when he slashed .234/.315/.459 with 27 homers in 591 plate appearances when he was with the Rays. This included a 10 BB% and a 20.6 K% for a 112 wRC+. His best season came in 2019, when he slashed .291/.364/.558 with 33 homers in 591 plate appearances and was named an All-Star for the first time in his career. 

Austin Meadows’ contract:

Had Meadows not been non-tendered by the Tigers, he was projected to make $4.3 million, according to MLB Trade Rumours. This was the same contract he had in the 2023 season when he only had 21 plate appearances before stepping away from the team.
In arbitration, a player’s salary can only be reduced by 20%, so the lowest Meadows could have made is $3,440,000 if the Tigers tendered him. However, that doesn’t apply to a non-tendered player. With that being said, it wouldn’t be all too surprising if Meadows is offered a guaranteed salary if he is ready to return, but likely for less than $2 million on a show-me deal.

Is Austin Meadows a fit for the Blue Jays:

Health aside, there is definitely a fit for the Blue Jays. When at his best, Meadows can give you 20+ home runs while batting for a solid (2021) to good (2019) average. He’s also a left-handed batting left fielder who can hit home runs, which is exactly what the Blue Jays need this off-season.
If the Jays were to sign a pitcher such as Shohei Ohtani or Yoshinobu Yamamoto, they could look to fill the left fielder hole with a low-risk, high-reward player such as Meadows.

Previously…


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