Very soon, fans of the Detroit Tigers will see the name “MEADOWS” in the lineup for their favorite team. But it’s not the Meadows many of them may have been thinking about.
Prior to the 2022 season, Detroit traded infielder Isaac Paredes to the Rays for outfielder Austin Meadows. The move was nearly universally lauded, as Meadows was a former All-Star coming off a career year. I say nearly, because this writer, the one penning these words, didn’t like the trade. More on that later.,
Meadows, the Austin one, has not played for the Tigers since April. Last season he appeared in 36 games. In total, Austin Meadows has 13 RBI for the team since he was acquired from Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, Paredes has hit 44 home runs in a Rays uniform as of Aug, 21—24 this season and 20 last season. Stinker isn’t a smelly enough word to describe that terrible trade.
But even while Austin Meadows is on the injured list with reported mental health issues, another Meadows is finally making his debut this month. Younger brother Parker has been called up from Triple-A and will join the Tigers as an outfielder.
Parker hit 19 jacks for Toledo this season, slugging .474 in 113 games. Last season he hit 20 homers and performed well in three different leagues. He’s a passable outfielder, tall with long legs, but an above-average throwing arm. Why Detroit saw fit to keep him in Toledo this season is a mystery.
Parker Meadows was forced to wear a minor league uniform while the dreadful Akil Baddoo and equally terrible Eric Haase split duty in left field. The Tigers finally cut Haase, and Baddoo is still on the team, for some reason. But Meadows should get playing time, if not only because he’s earned the right to show what he can do.
This is what the Tigers do now: they keep solid prospects in the minor leagues while giving marginal, no-talent, Four-A players like Haase and Baddoo in the big leagues. They did the same thing when they allowed Jonathan Schoop, Niko Goodrum, and JaCony Jones to get playing time in recent years in Detroit.
This team is not going to win a division. Why play nobodies without a future? This is the perfect time to give Parker Meadows, who turns 24 in November, a chance to face big league pitching. What else does he need to prove? In nearly 500 minor league games, Austin’s little brother hit .244 with a .406 SLG and 58 home runs. He’s shown he has good plate discipline, especially compared to the hacks in Detroit’s lineup that strike out about twice per game (we’re looking at you, Javy Baez).
The older Meadows will likely not be back with Detroit, not this season, nor ever. His physical problems have led to what is likely the end of his professional baseball career. That’s unfortunate, but it can’t concern the Detroit front office right now. The best thing Tigers president Scott Harris can do is play the young players to see what hand he’s got.
That’s what the last few weeks of a disappointing season are for. And here’s one observer predicting that Parker Meadows will be a solid big league hitter. He just needs a chance.
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