Trey Mancini is just coming off the best feeling in the world of baseball: a World Series championship. At the beginning of the season, Mancini was with the Baltimore Orioles, the organization he had played for since they drafted him in 2013. The Orioles were just getting hot as Mancini's bat cooled off, but the Astros still saw something. The 30-year-old was part of a three-team trade that sent him from Baltimore to Houston.
Mancini was hitting .268/.347/.404 with ten homers before the trade and was a "high-value" hitter, which would undoubtedly have helped in the postseason. Mancini came in as a veteran player at first base and helped alleviate some pressure from struggling first baseman Yuli Gurriel. He could also serve as a DH, and played 31 games in the corner outfield positions, but his bat was most attractive to the Astros.
However, Mancini slumped in Houston, hitting .176/.258/.364, and struggled in the postseason. One could easily blame that on a major trade late in the season and after being with a club for six seasons, but he certainly did not produce like the Astros’ thought he would at the plate.
However, he did play great defense, which helped secure game five of the World Series. He snagged a hit off Kyle Schwarber and got his first postseason hit in game six, which resulted in a run. He did both of these coming off the bench. He shared his frame of mind with Michael Shapiro of Chron in a post-game interview. “In a series of this magnitude, you can’t reflect on what’s going on. You have to look forward,” Mancini explained. “You gotta wash [your mistakes], go to the next day and be ready for your team.”
The Twins can relate to late-season and postseason struggles. They started hot last season but faltered after the All-Star break, mainly due to injuries. Those injuries forced the organization to bring up many Triple-A players pushed to the big leagues potentially before they were ready, and those injuries leave a lot of question marks in exactly the positions where Mancini played.
Twins players cycled through first base and designated hitter last year after Miguel Sano was injured. Luis Arraez will certainly play one of those spots after earning himself the American League batting title and contributing heavily to many of the Twins' wins. But even Arraez's time was limited due to injuries and pain, but still earned his first Silver Slugger Award.
Meanwhile, the Twins' corner outfield positions are mostly manned by unproven younger players, many of whom have injury concerns, and almost all of whom hit left-handed. Mancini's veteran right-handed bat is a great compliment to those spots, too. So there are a lot of places where he would be a benefit to the squad. Plus, with Mancini's late-season fade, the Twins could likely offer him a short-term deal.
Mancini would be a better overall player than the Twins' Kyle Garlick, who the Twins signed on November 15 to a one-year $750,000 deal to avoid arbitration. Garlick managed to have good numbers in 2022 despite being hurt throughout the season. Garlick has worked out well for the team, particularly his ability to get clutch hits off lefties, but his role has been limited, and he's had trouble staying healthy, too.
Mancini's health is also a significant part of his story. After his breakthrough 2019 season, he missed the 2020 season with stage III colon cancer. His return earned him the 2021 AL Comeback Player of the Year award. 2022 was another step forward, and ended in a World Championship.
Perhaps 2023 can, too? That would also be a good fit for Mancini and the Twins.
What do you think? Do you like Mancini as a pickup for the Twins this offseason? Tell us in the comments below.