The Baltimore Orioles may make outfielder Trey Mancini available via trade. If so, could he be a target for the Chicago Cubs?
It’s no secret the Chicago Cubs could use outfield help for next season, specifically in either right or center field since Kyle Schwarber is in left (assuming he doesn’t get traded). I’ve already mentioned several trade targets for the outfield this winter, but here’s another option, mentioned in passing by MLB Trade Rumors: right fielder Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles.
Mancini would be a nice addition to the lineup. In 2019, he posted an .899 OPS, setting career-highs in doubles (38), home runs (35) and RBI (97). In was the third straight year in which he had hit more than 20 doubles and more than 20 home runs. Also noteworthy is that he improved his walk total from 44 in 2018 to 63 in 2019.
Mancini is considered to be below average defensively, which may be a concern with Schwarber in left and Jason Heyward being moved from his natural position of right to center field. However, the 27-year-old still posted an overall WAR of 3.3 in 2019. Considering that he won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2020 season, he would be an affordable addition to the roster, as opposed to, say, Nicholas Castellanos or any other free agent outfielder.
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Would the Orioles trade Mancini this offseason? He’s one of the few bright spots left on a depleted roster that is years away from contending. It would make sense for the Orioles to sell high on him, given that he’s coming off a career year, However, they would do it at the risk of further alienating an already frustrated fan base that didn’t take their decision to place Jonathan Villar on waivers well. (They eventually traded Villar to the Miami Marlins.)
If the Orioles make Mancini available, would they seek major league pieces, or would they try to further beef up a minor league system that has been on the rise over the past year?
If they want the former, Ian Happ would be an obvious candidate to go the other way, and Baltimore could plug him in at his natural position of second base now that Villar is gone. Happ also is two years younger and has one less year of service time.
Of course, the Orioles could use help just about anywhere, especially the pitching staff. The Cubs don’t have much to offer in the way of young starting pitching. If Baltimore wants an arm that could make an impact in 2020, Adbert Alzolay could be a candidate to go the other way as well.
Happ and Alzolay might be enough to get a deal done, though some might think that’s a steep price for an outfielder who just had a career year and is below average defensively. Or maybe the Orioles would take an arm further away from the majors such as Justin Steele or Ryan Jensen.
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In any case, if the Orioles are shopping Trey Mancini, the Chicago Cubs should at least give them a call. He’d be a great low-cost addition to the lineup, and the Cubs shouldn’t need to empty their farm system to get him.