The Houston Astros finally made their first big trade on Monday afternoon, acquiring slugger Trey Mancini from the Baltimore Orioles.
The Astros have made their first move in advance of the 2022 trade deadline. Mere minutes after news broke that the rival Yankees had acquired Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino, TheAthletic’s Dan Connolly reported that Trey Mancini was off to Houston.
Mancini will come to the Astros as part of a 3-team trade that will send outfielder Jose Siri to the Tampa Bay Rays. From the Rays, the Astros are receiving 25-year-old RHP Jayden Murray. Murray has a 2.83 ERA and a 4.01 RA/9 at AA this season and was not one of the Rays’ top-30 prospects according to MLB.com. The Astros are sending Chayce McDermott to the Orioles to complete the deal; McDermott is 23 and has a 5.50 ERA at high-A this season and was Houston’s 12th-best prospect per MLB.com.
Mancini is 30 years old and had spent his entire career with Baltimore. After a big breakout season with the Orioles in 2019, he missed all of 2020 while receiving treatment for stage 3 colon cancer. His story is quite remarkable, and the Astros are getting a very strong player on and off the field. In 92 games this season, Mancini has a slash line of .268/.347/.404, which comes out to an OPS+ of 114. He just recently reached double-digit home run totals for the 5th consecutive year, and he has reverse splits as a right-handed hitter, with a .787 OPS against righties and a .679 OPS against lefties in 2022.
Mancini is also versatile in the field. He has played 51 games at DH this season, as well as 29 at first base, 10 in left field, and 3 in right field. First base is his strongest position defensively, as he has 3 Statcast outs above average at the position this year, compared to 0 in left field, and in fact, he has been worth 2 outs below average in right field despite the extremely small sample size.
Due to the fact that he plays first base but doesn’t do so exclusively, it is likely that the Astros are no longer pursuing Josh Bell. Mancini is not as good a hitter as Bell, but he’s certainly a good alternative and he offers more positional versatility with his ability to play left field. Mancini is under contract for the rest of this season, and he has a $10M mutual option for 2023. A mutual option is essentially an optional year following the final guaranteed season of a player’s contract that allows the player to extend that contract if both player and team can agree to it.
Another piece of information worth noting is the effect that Minute Maid Park could have on Mancini’s power numbers. He has 10 home runs on the year, but that’s despite the taller and much deeper left field wall at Camden Yards. If he had the much shallower left field at Minute Maid Park, Mancini would have 22 home runs this season according to Statcast. Plenty of his deep flyouts in Baltimore would have been home runs in Houston, meaning that a power surge may be in store for him in the aftermath of this trade.