Looking Back at the Rays
The title of this article does suggest this rating, so an A+ grade for Tampa Bay should come as a surprise to no one.
Even if the Rays had only acquired Austin Meadows in this deal, it would have been a major win. Meadows slashed .256/.334/.492 with 65 HR and 212 RBI in 326 games for Tampa, and had an All-Star level year in 2019, posting a .922 OPS with 33 HR. With prospect Josh Lowe coming up in 2022 and other outfield options on the roster, the club dealt Meadows to the Tigers for Isaac Paredes and a competitive balance round B pick in the 2022 amateur draft before the 2022 season. Meadows was a huge contributor for the Rays during their deep playoff runs.
Starter Tyler Glasnow is currently making his way back from Tommy John surgery but was a Cy Young candidate before going on the IL. Over his four seasons with the Rays, Glasnow had an ERA of 3.10 and 354 Ks in 261 innings of work. His knock as a Pirate was an inability to locate his elite stuff, ending in short outings and a bloated ERA. Needless to say, he figured it out in Tampa Bay and could be one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2023.
Typically a PTBNL is more of a throw-in prospect in any deal, but somehow, Shane Baz may become the most valuable piece of the bunch. The #12 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com, Baz has been electric for the Rays farm system and impressed big time at the big league level last year.
As a 22-year-old, Baz saw 13.1 innings of work with a 2.03 ERA and 18 Ks, even earning a start during the Rays' postseason run. Coming into 2022, Baz was expected to be a major contributor in the Rays rotation, but began the year on the IL after surgery to clean up his elbow. Looking at his latest rehab start though, Baz has not missed a beat.
The trio of Baz, Glasnow, and Meadows will go down as a huge haul for a pitcher that was middle of the rotation at best during the time of the trade and went to the bottom of the league with the Pirates ballclub. Pirates fans must still be fuming by the incompetency of their front office at the time, but Rays fans will get the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of this heist for years to come.