The Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers completed a notable trade on Friday, as the two swapped Craig Kimbrel and AJ Pollock in a mere player-for-player move. However, there was a possibility that the two players could have landed elsewhere.
For one, Pollock had garnered interest from the Boston Red Sox, which came as the Dodgers were looking for a suitor for him over the past weeks.
On the other hand, the Tampa Bay Rays were offered the opportunity to acquire Kimbrel, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
The White Sox had approached the Rays for a Craig Kimbrel and Austin Meadows swap move. With Pete Fairbanks set to miss the start of the upcoming season due to a lat muscle injury, Andrew Kittredge is currently set to be the Rays’ go-to closer, but Kimbrel would have come in and taken the role had he been acquired by the team.
The Rays “had no interest” in this proposed player-for-player deal. The reigning AL East champions did not value Kimbrel at his $16 million due salary for the 2022 season. More so, they did not see that the soon-to-be free agent would have met the value of Meadows with the team, who is set to earn $4 million this season and is under team control for the next two years.
Rosenthal did note last month that Meadows has been a “prominent mention in trade talks.”
Meadows is coming off of a notable season in his fourth year with the Rays. Over the 2021 campaign, he led Tampa Bay in RBI (106) and also tallied for 27 home runs, which ranked third on the team behind Brandon Lowe (39) and Mike Zunino (33). Rays manager Kevin Cash primarily called on him to feature against right-handed pitchers, as 24 of his 27 home runs came in such at-bats. More so, he posted a .198 batting average in 167 at-bats against left-handed pitchers over the year.
Meadows’ experience in playing in all three spots in the outfield would have provided versatility to Chicago’s depth chart. Nonetheless, both teams have moved on, and they each sure are aiming to once again win their respective divisions over the upcoming season.