Mancini, 31 in March, put up a monster season in 2019, hitting 35 home runs and batting .291/.364/.535. Although that was the “juiced ball” season, that production was still 32% better than league average, as evidenced by his 132 wRC+. He then missed the 2020 season while undergoing treatment for a colon cancer diagnosis, but he made an inspiring return to the field the following year.
Over the past couple of seasons, Mancini has settled in as a cromulent player, although a notch below that excellent 2019 showing. He’s produced a combined .247/.323/.412 batting line in 2021 and 2022, leading to a wRC+ of 104. He’s provided some above-average defense at first base while also playing the outfield corners on occasion. His market has been fairly quiet thus far this winter, with the Cubs lone team showing reported interest. However, that was before they signed first baseman Eric Hosmer, which perhaps dampens their interest in Mancini.
Duvall, 34, is coming off a down year, though he had a good showing in the prior campaign. He’s always been a high-strikeout guy and that was indeed the case again in 2021. He was punched out in 31.4% of his plate appearances but also hit 38 home runs. That led to a batting line of .228/.281/.491 for a wRC+ of 103. He also provided excellent outfield defense, winning a Gold Glove in right field as a result.
Unfortunately, Duvall took a step back last year. He hit .213/.276/.401 for a wRC+ of 87 before his season was cut short by wrist surgery in July. That’s certainly not an ideal platform for this trip into free agency but he showed what he’s capable of the year before. Like Mancini, his market has been relatively quiet this offseason, with this appearing to be the first public connection to a team.
The Mets have seemingly been on the lookout for a complementary player to add to their outfield mix. Their interest in Andrew McCutchen was reported yesterday, and now this interest in Mancini and Duvall adds a couple more names into the mix. All three players are right-handed bats who have at least some capability to spend some time in the outfield. The current outfield should feature Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte and Mark Canha taking up the bulk of the time, but it makes sense to add to it for injury insurance. Khalil Lee could be used as a fourth outfielder but he had a poor season in Triple-A last year and still has an option remaining.
Darin Ruf is in the mix as someone who can occasionally play outfield and platoon with lefty Daniel Vogelbach at designated hitter. However, he struggled badly after coming over to the Mets in a trade with the Giants. He was hitting .216/.328/.373 at the time of the deal but produced an ice-cold line of .152/.216/.197 after. It seems the club is hoping to bring in another option for that job, with McCutchen, Mancini and Duval three names under consideration. Some other options still available in free agency include Tommy Pham, Brian Anderson and the switch-hitting Jurickson Profar.