It could be a quiet trade deadline this year in Birdland. Some players that might have attracted at least modest interest, such as shortstop Freddy Galvis and third baseman Maikel Franco, have gotten hurt, while right-hander Matt Harvey has an ERA of 7.70.
The Orioles would certainly find interest if they wanted to trade a talent with a lot of team control remaining, like Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle, John Means or Austin Hays. But aren’t they players they should be building around for the future, not trading?
Somewhere in the middle of all this is Trey Mancini, a beloved figure in Birdland even before he beat cancer. Now the love for this player is off the charts and maybe rivals the strong feelings Birdland holds for the best players in team history.
Mancini has returned from missing the entire 2020 season to show he is still a middle-of-the-order hitter and can still handle the daily grind of the majors. He is a team leader in the clubhouse. His desire to motivate and encourage anyone else dealing with cancer shows he’s a leader outside of baseball, too.
If you were to ask any O’s fan if they should even consider trading this player, the answer is likely going to be no.
I will guess he is not going to be traded. Mancini doesn’t think he will be either.
“Of course, I want to stay,” he said Friday of any possible trade rumors. “I’ve always said that and I still do. But that is something that I can’t control. It really, you know, it’s a business and I know that, so whatever happens, it happens. I really hope to stay, but I understand there is a much bigger picture than just myself. I hope to stay. I think I will. But at the same time, it’s not anything that I will put much thought to because I really have no say in it.”
As with just about everything else, Mancini handles this part well, too.
The job of the Orioles front office is to listen to any trade offers and for any players. That doesn’t mean they will act. But of course, you always listen.
It could very well turn out to be true that Mancini is worth more to this team than any other and while the Orioles could be tempted to move anyone for the right trade package, it would seemingly take a lot to deal him. They can be open to listening, but it’s a big leap between that and an actual trade happening.
Players like Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr. were lifelong Orioles and no doubt many fans would love to see Mancini become that. In the game now, that is rare. And at 29, it could be that Mancini’s performance starts to trail off down the road at about the same time that the Orioles start to produce a winning team.
To this point, the club has not made any strong overtures that we have heard about to sign him to a long-term deal, but that has to play into this with Mancini, too.
Trade him or maybe sign him while pondering how many good years he has left. A lot to consider.
Thoughts for the López family: It was a moment where real life collided with baseball during a postgame zoom interview with O’s pitcher Jorge López last night. And real life showed us it is always more important than baseball, no matter how much we love this game.
Lopez revealed he went on the bereavement list Wednesday to be with his son, who has been receiving chemotherapy for 14 days and needed a bone marrow transplant.
Wow. And the guy got back to the team in time to pitch last night.
“I think that’s first always,” he said via Zoom. “He’s such a strong kid. I feel I have to be there. I’m a strong part of his life. Hopefully, he can get a new life in the next couple months and just be a normal kid, you know? He loves baseball, he loves to come to the ballpark, come here and watch, and that’s his big thing. He watches us every day playing. This is something, I have to be there no matter what.”
Sending out the very best wishes and prayers, too, for López, his son and his family.
The Orioles ended a five-game losing streak with Saturday’s 8-4 win at Kansas City. Click here to read some notes and quotes on the win.