The Chicago Cubs officially introduced veteran first baseman Trey Mancini on Monday and it became immediately clear that Mancini follows a trend that the team has identified with their other moves this offseason.
Prior to signing with the Cubs this offseason, Mancini had committed to participating in the World Baseball Classic with Team Italy. Mancini, however, told reporters on Monday that we will be forgoing the opportunity to play in the World Baseball Classic as he looks to establish his presence with the Cubs during Spring Training.
"“Whenever I decided to join the Cubs, I was talking with Jed and the front office and especially with me going to a new team, we thought it might behoove me to be [at Spring Training] the whole time with the team, especially since I’m gonna be kind a more veteran presence in the clubhouse,” Mancini said. “It probably will be better for me to stay there all spring and get to know the guys and be there.”"- Trey Mancini via Marquee Sports Network
A leadership presence was missing from the Cubs' clubhouse in 2021. There is no question that Willson Contreras was the emotional leader on the field for the Cubs last season but his pending departure from the team limited the impact that his voice may have had in the clubhouse. Mancini, who signed a two-year deal with the Cubs, likely will serve as one of those voices for the 2022 team along with shortstop Dansby Swanson.
It's important to note that the Cubs introduced Mancini as a first baseman, corner outfielder, and designated hitter. A bulk of Mancini's plate appearances in 2023, at least for the early portion of the season, will likely come as the team's designated hitter. Though, Mancini does represent an ideal platoon partner for Eric Hosmer at first base.
The first base position was a glaring weakness on the Cubs' roster in 2022. Mancini and Hosmer should certainly provide an upgrade at the position for the Cubs in 2023. At least, until first base prospect Matt Mervis is ready for the Major League level.