Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini hasn’t been a hot name in the run-up to the trade deadline, but MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that he’s coming up in late talks. The Astros, Rangers, and Rays are all said to have interest.
Mancini, 27, will be eligible for arbitration for the first time in the offseason to come. He’s off to an excellent start at the plate, putting a subpar 2018 season in the rearview mirror. Through 434 plate appearances, Mancini is slashing .280/.341/.532. He grabbed the 50th spot on our ranking of the top trade candidates based upon his evident talent and contractual upside.
For the O’s, nothing is bolted to the floor. But the Baltimore club surely isn’t in a rush to trade its best player, particularly since he’s a marketable figure at an organizational low point. Lovely as Camden Yards is standing alone, stars are needed to bring fans in and send merchandise out of the ballpark gates.
The slate of clubs with interest is itself both interesting and telling. It’s clear that Mancini isn’t a classic trade deadline piece, so much as a very good player with a great contract situation who is drawing teams that are interested in him from a talent standpoint. Roster fit and the situation in the standings are to some extent secondary considerations.
For the Astros, adding Mancini would mean putting another big bat into a lineup mix that’s already strewn with them. The priority in Houston is surely pitching. One wonders whether the connection is based upon some scenarios involving multiple other moving pieces.
The Rangers, meanwhile, are all but buried out of contention. But the team is looking to remain competitive and ramp right back up next year. Coming away with Mancini would mean adding a righty slugger to partner up with star Joey Gallo. The Texas org obviously wouldn’t be valuing Mancini for his late-2019 contributions, but for the three years of control thereafter.
It’s also a bit of an opportunistic possibility for the Rays, who have more immediate incentive than the Rangers but less than the Astros. The Tampa Bay club is always searching for value and has been connected to multiple righty outfield bats, so it isn’t surprising to see that they’ve propped open a door on Mancini. With loads of young talent, especially in the infield, it’s possible the Rays could come up with some creative packages in search of a match with their division rivals.