A look at the Mancini trade and some ramifications of it

He played in 701 games in his time in Birdland. That is a significant number, but Trey Mancini’s impact on the Orioles will go way beyond anything on a stat sheet.

The kid from Florida who was once overlooked by the big colleges in his home state, went to Notre Dame to play college ball. Then he was an eighth-round draft pick by the Orioles in 2013. Picks in round eight don’t often become middle-of-the-order hitters and team leaders, but Mancini did that.

He was loved by Birdland even before he kicked cancer’s butt. Even before he became close friends with Mo Gaba and Baltimore got to see from a distance that beautiful relationship. Even before the Orioles team he played on took on a completely new look and went from a club that made the 2016 playoffs to one that lost 115 games and had to rebuild from the ground up.

He carried himself so well and represented the Orioles so well, on and off the field.

Fans here can now hope this season will end with Mancini maybe playing in the World Series and getting a ring with his new team in Houston.

Mancini had struggled at times recently, going 6-for-42 over his past 11 games. He batted .237 in July. But for the full year, over 92 games, he has batted .268/.347/.404/.751 with 16 doubles, a triple, 10 homers and 41 RBIs. His OPS plus was 114, 14 percent above league average.

For his Baltimore career, which began late in the 2016 season, Mancini batted .270/.334/.463/.797 with 117 homers, 350 RBIs and a 117 OPS plus.

O's executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias discussed the deal just moments ago during a team Zoom interview.

"I think I have said all along the organization is going to have to do business in a manner that is more balancing of the present and future than perhaps it had in the past," Elias said. "This is the nature of the competition we are in with the rest of the teams and teams in our league. We have a tremendous amount of reinforcements, I believe, on the way that will come up and help this team. And also we've got another 24 hours before this trade deadline is expired. 

"I'm tremendously proud of and pleased with what our players have done this year, and looking forward to what they are continuing to do. But ultimately, it's my job to maintain the health of the organization."   

The deal turned out to be a three-team deal that brought the Orioles a pitching prospect from Tampa Bay and one from Houston.

From the Rays, they added 23-year-old right-hander Seth Johnson, whom the Rays took with the No. 40 overall pick in the 2019 draft. Johnson is ranked as the Rays' No. 6 prospect by MLBPipeline.com and No. 9 by Baseball America.

This year at high Single-A in seven starts, he went 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA. In 27 innings he walked 11 and fanned 41 with a 1.26 WHIP. He has a fastball that reports say has touched 98, but he also, reportedly, is about to have Tommy John surgery.

From Houston, they got 23-year-old right-hander Chayce McDermott, Houston’s fourth-round pick in 2021. His fastball sits 92 to 96, touching 98, and gets 55 grades from MLBPipeline.com, which ranked him Houston’s No. 12 prospect. Baseball America had him as the team's No. 6.

This year at high Single-A Asheville he has a 14.25 K rate. He is 6-1 with a 5.50 ERA in 19 games, 10 starts. Over 72 innings he has allowed 57 hits with 43 walks and 114 strikeouts.

The Orioles recalled outfielder Yusniel Diaz from Triple-A to take Mancini's spot on the roster. He has not exactly torn it up at Norfolk with a .677 OPS in 35 games. But this is his second season on the 40-man roster, and maybe they just need to see what he can do at this point.

Added Elias on how this could impact the current clubhouse: "The trade deadline is always hard for teams. This is, obviously, very significant with Trey's tenure with the team and with the cohesiveness in our clubhouse right now. I know everyone is emotional about it.

"But we also have a lot of young players that have seized a lot of terrific opportunities this year because of spots that have been opened. And I'm hopeful we will continue to do that. We just selected Yusniel Diaz. We have other players on the horizon. 

"I think this is a very talented group that is just getting started and I think we're going to continue to keep playing hard and pushing ahead this season," he said. 


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