Trey Mancini has gone unclaimed on waivers and become a free agent, tweets Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times. According to his transaction log at MLB.com, he’d been released upon being designated for assignment two days ago.
There was little suspense with this sequence of events after Tuesday’s trade deadline passed. He was DFA to clear space for the recently acquired Jeimer Candelario. As a player with over five years of MLB service, he can decline any minor league assignment while retaining all of his salary. With no trade lined up, Mancini had to go on waivers, where his contract made it a lock he’d be unclaimed.
He’d signed a two-year, $14MM free agent deal in January. The move didn’t work out as he or Chicago had envisioned. His few months on the North Side were among the worst of his career. Mancini hit .234/.299/.336 with only four home runs through 263 trips to the plate. He struck out at an alarming 29.7% clip, the highest rate of his career.
Mancini hit a career-high 35 home runs in 2019 before missing the 2020 campaign after a colon cancer diagnosis. His return to the diamond after beating the disease was one of the sport’s best stories the following season. Mancini spent another season and a half with the Orioles, hitting .260/.334/.421 in a little more than 1000 trips. It wasn’t the impact production of his ’19 campaign but remained slightly above-average offensive output.
Baltimore dealt Mancini to the Astros in a three-team trade at last summer’s deadline. His production slumped in Houston, as he mustered only a .176/.258/.364 line through 186 plate appearances. Mancini collected a World Series ring but didn’t play much of a role in the Astros’ championship run.
The Cubs’ hopes for a rebound didn’t materialize. Mancini carries a .210/.282/.348 slash through 449 plate appearances dating back to last year’s trade. As a player who’s best suited for first base or designated hitter — he’s a below-average defender in the corner outfield — the lack of offensive productivity pushed him off the Chicago roster. The 31-year-old has a career .263/.328/.448 line in just under 3400 trips to the dish.
Mancini is due around $2.2MM through season’s end and $7MM next year. The Cubs will be on the hook for virtually all of that money. Any team that adds him in free agency within the next season and a half would pay just the prorated league minimum salary for time spent in the majors, which’ll come off the Cubs’ ledger. The well-respected veteran is sure to at least find minor league interest and could land an immediate MLB roster spot elsewhere now that there’d be virtually no financial cost for another team to add him as a bench bat.