The Reds have signed first baseman/corner outfielder Trey Mancini to a minor league contract, tweets Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. The veteran was released by the Cubs after being designated for assignment on deadline day.
Mancini’s tenure with Chicago lasted only a few months. Signed to a two-year, $14MM free agent pact last offseason, he played in 79 games. Mancini slumped to a career-worst .234/.299/.336 batting line through 263 trips to the plate. He homered only four times and struck out at a lofty 29.7% clip. He particularly struggled in the two months preceding the deadline, hitting .200/.247/.318 in 93 plate appearances from June 1 onwards.
Chicago added Jeimer Candelario once they played their way into buying, bumping Mancini from the roster. He spent a few weeks on the open market but will now join one of their top competitors in a tightly-packed playoff bubble. The Cubs currently occupy the second Wild Card slot in the National League but are just half a game clear of the Giants, Reds and D-Backs — all of whom are tied for the last spot. Both Chicago and Cincinnati are still within four games of the Brewers in the NL Central.
Mancini doesn’t step right back into the playoff chase, as he’ll begin on a non-roster deal. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s added to the MLB team in relatively short order, though, as the Reds could use a right-handed bat in a first base/corner outfield mix that skews toward the left side.
While Mancini’s stint in the Windy City was unquestionably a disappointment, he’d been an above-average hitter in his three prior seasons. The Notre Dame product connected on 35 home runs with a .291/.364/.535 slash in 2019. He’s never replicated quite those heights but has topped 20 longballs on three other occasions. Between 2021-22, Mancini combined for a decent .247/.323/.412 showing in a little over 1200 plate appearances.
While Mancini has struggled against pitchers of either handedness this year, he had a quality .263/.334/.450 mark against left-handed pitching in the two prior seasons. The Reds have Joey Votto at first base and lefty-swinging Will Benson — whom they’ve almost entirely shielded from unfavorable platoon matchups — in right field. Righty-swinging Kevin Newman and Stuart Fairchild both recently landed on the injured list, while Nick Senzel was optioned a few weeks ago. TJ Hopkins, Michael Siani and Nick Martini are currently on the MLB roster in a depth capacity.
If they call Mancini up, he’d add a much more accomplished bat to the bench. He’s also regarded as a strong clubhouse leader, which would surely be welcome in a generally young Reds’ locker room as they vie for an unexpected postseason berth. Since he joined the organization before September 1, Mancini would be eligible for the playoffs if the Reds find their way into October.
The Cubs are on the hook for Mancini’s respective $7MM salaries in each of the next two years. If the Reds select his contract, they’d only owe him the prorated portion of the $720K league minimum for whatever time he spends in the majors. That amount would come off the Cubs’ ledger.