Astros To Acquire Trey Mancini; Jose Siri To Rays As Part Of Three-Team Deal

4:11pm: Right-hander Chayce McDermott is headed from Houston to Baltimore to complete the deal, Jeff Passan of ESPN reports.

4:06pm: The Rays plan to designate outfielder Brett Phillips for assignment, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Rosenthal reports that pitching prospect Seth Johnson is going to Baltimore in the deal, with Houston also sending the Orioles a pitcher. Johnson is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery, according to Rosenthal.

4:04pm: It’s a three-team trade that also involves the Rays, reports Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic (on Twitter). Center fielder José Siri is going from Houston to Tampa Bay. Minor league right-hander Jayden Murray is heading from Tampa Bay to Houston as part of the deal, reports Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).

3:27pm: The Astros are acquiring Trey Mancini from the Orioles, reports Dan Connolly of the Athletic (Twitter link). Baltimore is acquiring multiple pitching prospects in return, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (on Twitter).

Mancini has a .268/.347/.404 line through 401 plate appearances. He’s connected on just ten home runs, a bit shy of the 21-plus homer pace he posted in every healthy season between 2017-21. Despite the decreased power production, Mancini has an above-average 10% barrel rate and 89.6 MPH average exit velocity that are each in line with his career marks. It seems Mancini’s dip in longballs is more tied to changes in the ball and the Orioles deepening of the left field wall that a reflection that his power has truly taken a step back.

The right-handed hitting Mancini also has a typically solid blend of strikeouts and walks. He’s fanning in 21.4% of his plate appearances, a bit less than league average and among the lower rates of his career. Mancini’s a well-rounded bat who’ll presumably cut into the playing time of Yuli Gurriel. The reigning AL batting champion is a longtime member of the Houston organization, but he has an underwhelming .243/.293/.392 line on the year. Houston has reportedly been on the hunt for offensive upgrades, who could supplant Gurriel on the depth chart. While the club was tied to Josh Bell and Willson Contreras, they’ve pivoted to Mancini.

It’s another addition to a Houston club that already boasts one of the league’s top offenses. The Astros enter play Monday with a .240/.318/.425 line that translates to offense 13 percentage points better than league, according to wRC+. Houston’s raw run-scoring total is a bit less impressive, though, as the club ranks 12th in the majors with 461 runs scored.

Mancini has a bit of experience in the corner outfield, but he’s primarily an option at first base or designated hitter. The Astros have Kyle Tucker as their primary right fielder, but left fielder Michael Brantley has been on the injured list for over a month and still has an uncertain recovery timeline. Yordan Álvarez has designated hitter accounted for, leaving first base and perhaps some occasional fill-in work in left field as the clearest path to playing time for Mancini.

For the past few months, Mancini has looked like one of the better bats who might available this summer. The Orioles, though, have gone 16-7 this month to pull themselves back to .500 with a couple months to play. Baltimore is within three games of the final Wild Card spot in the American League, seemingly at least raising some questions about how motivated they’d be to deal players off the MLB roster. At least in the case of Mancini, they remain committed to their goal of bolstering the roster for 2023 and beyond, but it’s a move that’s likely to disappoint at least some segment of the clubhouse and the fanbase.

Mancini had been a career-long member of the organization, one of the few productive big leaguers to remain on the MLB roster throughout the franchise’s recent rebuild. He’s long been well-regarded in the community, and that’s become particularly true in the wake of his overcoming colon cancer in 2020. He was deservedly named the AL’s Comeback Player of the Year last season.

The 30-year-old Mancini is likely to be a free agent at season’s end, making him a rental pickup for the Astros. He’s playing this year on a $7.5MM salary, around $2.72MM of which is still to be paid out. Houston will assume that tab as well as the $250K buyout on a $10MM mutual option for 2023. (Mutual options are almost never exercised by both player and team, and Mancini seems likely to forego his end in search of a multi-year pact this winter).

More to come.

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