Cubs Have Interest In Trey Mancini

The Cubs have interest in free agent first baseman/outfielder Trey Mancini, according to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score. Mancini is a free agent for the first time after a number of years with the Orioles and a brief stint with the Astros in 2022. A $10MM mutual option wasn’t picked up at the end of the season, and Mancini took a $250K buyout instead to hit the open market.

There hasn’t been a lot of reported interest in Mancini’s services to date this off-season, although a number of teams could use a bat like his so he figures to have a lot of potential fits.

The 30-year-old is coming off a solid platform year. He was hitting .268/.347/.404 with ten home runs at the deadline with Baltimore, before they traded their long time fan favorite to the Astros. He scuffled a bit down the stretch in Houston, hitting just .176/.258/.364 with eight home runs in 186 plate appearances. It certainly wasn’t an ideal lead in to a trip to the open market, and a spike in strikeouts didn’t help, but he can still point to unfortunate .191 BABIP as something that should even out over time.

Mancini has been one of the feel good stories around baseball in recent years, following his successful return from a Stage 3 colon cancer diagnosis in 2020. He missed the entire 2020 season, but has was a productive hitter both before and after for Baltimore, hitting .270/.334/.463 with 117 home runs in almost 3,000 plate appearances.

Defensively, he’s split time fairly evenly between the outfield and first base, but was more often that not utilized in the DH spot in 2022. He’s yielded -24 Outs Above Average in around 2,500 innings in the corner outfield spots, but has been worth a more positive five OAA at first base in just over 2,000 innings of work there.

1B/DH seems to be where he’d spend the bulk of his time if he did in fact wind up with the Cubs. They have Cody Bellinger, Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki penciled in to handle most of the outfield reps, but 1B/DH is open with Matt Mervis and Alfonso Rivas the in-house candidates there. Mervis broke out in 2022 and could well be their long-term answer, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add a more experienced option as well. The team has had discussions with former Met Dominic Smith recently, while the likes of Matt Carpenter, Brandon Drury, Brandon Belt, or Eric Hosmer on the trade market could all make some sense as options.

As Levine notes, the Cubs priorities for additions remain elsewhere though. They’re heavily involved in the shortstop market and have been interested in both Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson. Levine points to starting pitcher and catcher as the other priorities. They did just sign Jameson Taillon to a four-year, $68MM deal, but it seems they’re keen to add another, with Japanese star Kodai Senga someone they’ve had interest in.

Their need for a catcher comes as no surprise after seeing their long-time backstop Willson Contreras sign with the rival Cardinals. Christian Vazquez is the top free agent catcher remaining, but Oakland’s Sean Murphy is available, while the Blue Jays could well move one of their young backstops – Gabriel Moreno, Danny Jansen or Alejandro Kirk.

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