Mancini embraces his role as veteran Oriole - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Mancini embraces his role as veteran Oriole

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

It sounded strange to Trey Mancini. He won’t be 27 until next month, and he’s just starting his third full season in the major leagues, but he’s one of the most veteran of this year’s Orioles.

Last July’s purge and the departure of Adam Jones leave eight players from the 2016 team on the 40-man roster. Mancini was one of three players named as a cornerstone by general manager Mike Elias in a November email to season ticket-holders.

Thirteen player on the 40-man roster are older than Mancini and five — Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis, Andrew Cashner, Richard Bleier and Alex Cobb — are over 30.

While Davis’ contract runs through 2022, Mancini remains under club control until then. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until a year from now.

Mancini, a political science graduate of Notre Dame, accepts his role as one of the more senior Orioles.

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“It’s obviously different,” Mancini said at last Saturday’s FanFest at the Baltimore Convention Center. “It’s been the same core group here from 2012-2018, so it’s a totally different feel, but it’s actually really exciting.”

Although manager Brandon Hyde has said little about his lineup, Mancini figures to be the regular left fielder while Davis begins the season at first base and Trumbo as the designated hitter.

Mancini could be joined by Cedric Mullins, another player mentioned by Elias as a building block, and perhaps Austin Hays, Joey Rickard, Anthony Santander, DJ Stewart—or someone from outside the organization in the outfield.

“To have a lot of young guys here, it’s going to be an energetic team … and I’m really excited to get started,” he said.

Mancini has been gracious to fans and media members, and he could become a go-to guy for the media, and his younger teammates.

“Life comes at you fast sometimes,” Mancini said. “I’ve played just over two years here, and I’m considered a veteran. You can get thrown into the fire. It’s happened to me before. I’m absolutely ready to take on that role.”

Mancini made an unexpected debut in September 2016 when Steve Pearce suffered a calf injury. He had been in Sarasota working out when he got the call to come to Baltimore.

Mancini homered three times in five games and was on the roster for the 2016 wild-card game.

Mancini was converted from a first baseman to an outfielder the next season — first in right field, then in left — and hit .293 with 24 home runs and 78 RBIs. He finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

Mancini had an awful start to the 2018 season, hitting .216 at the All-Star break and .276 after it. His power numbers were consistent, 12 homers before and after the break, and 26 RBIs pre-break and 32 in the second half.

Mancini had a .715 OPS, down from .826 his rookie year.

“I’m just kind of sticking to what I did in the second half,” Mancini said. “I think I tried to tinker too much last offseason and change a couple of things up. I probably didn’t need to do that. I just went back to what I know how to do, and I’m still doing that.”

Because only Manny Machado hit consistently in the first half, Mancini believes he was pressing.

“I think we all did that to a degree,” Mancini said. “We kind of got off to a rough start last year and couldn’t really recover from that, unfortunately, and we kind of let it spiral out of control. … Towards the end of the year, I thought we started playing a lot better.”

The son of an OBGYN, who briefly considered medical school, Mancini is in favor of a greater emphasis on analytics.

“It’s just a fact now that analytics are an important part of baseball,” Mancini said. “I’m really looking forward to getting more information in that regard. I feel like that’s what the new regime is really all about. I’m really looking forward to looking at some things and seeing some adjustments I can make personally, and things other guys can do personally to make themselves better.”

As Mancini heads to Sarasota, Fla., for the start of spring training later this month, he realizes that he might be a leader.

“I’ve got to be a little more vocal,” Mancini said. “I know towards the end of last year, a lot of guys were coming up to me, asking what they should do about their 401(k) plan, all that stuff. I just asked people that the year before. I had no idea. I’m trying to study up on that, get more educated as things about the union goes. In kind of those regards, I’m trying to step up to the plate a little bit.”

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. bmorebirds

    February 1, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Trey Mancini is not an outfielder. Period. Using him that way hurts Mancini and the Orioles. Hope he rediscovers his 2017 batting eye, facilitating a trade to a team looking for first base help.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 1, 2019 at 9:52 am

      The guess here, bmorebirds, is that Mancini is with the Orioles for a little while.

  2. ClyOs

    February 1, 2019 at 11:15 am

    The fact Mancini is considered a “veteran” on this team really does say a lot about the team Baltimore will be fielding this year. The fact that the coaching staff was just put in place and the majority of the team is inexperienced at the major league level may lead to an interesting start of 2019. Couple this with the fact Trumbo will more than likely be traded in July or before, I think a few free agents need pursued. An outfielder and catcher maybe?

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 1, 2019 at 1:42 pm

      Well, by the time you wrote this and now, ClyOs, they have indeed signed another catcher.

  3. CalsPals

    February 1, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    I like Trey’s flexibility & no complaining, I agree, he is a 1st basemen playing outfield, but what Chris Davis needs to figure offensively does not apply to his defensive play, still an above avg, if not better 1st basemen, love to see the O’s take a serious look at Oregon State catcher….

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 1, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      Only four months of draft speculation remaining, CalsPals.

  4. TheGreat8

    February 1, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Rich – what was the general consensus on how Trey was as a first baseman? would he hold his own defensively? if he’s adequate , i could see a scenario where (hopefully) once trumbo is traded midseason, that trey moves to first and davis is DH.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 1, 2019 at 4:25 pm

      He’s played more first base, and considered adequate there. The outfield has been a challenge.

  5. BirdsCaps

    February 1, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    You know the organization is in rough shape when Mancini, a good player is the “face of the franchise.” Part of me is happy to see an Aberdeen alum have a central part on the birds roster, but Mancini is no Machado, Jones or Markakis or even Tejada, which were the media faces of the birds as long as I have been following them. Maybe he’s like a Jeff Conine, a semi-star who has to be the temporary face of the franchise.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 1, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      A face of the franchise isn’t anointed. Someone just naturally falls into the role, BirdsCaps. Not sure who’s next, though

      • BirdsCaps

        February 1, 2019 at 6:28 pm

        I agree, but I don’t see anyone on the roster that can have much of leadership role or big media presence. There just isn’t anyone with real star power or tenure in the organization.

  6. Bhoffman1

    February 1, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    Sure hope Anthony Santander and Joey Richard are not the starting right fielders. Santander proved last year he cannot play. Hope to see DJ or Diaz in right field. Too bad Mancini who is a defensive liability has to play left field.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 1, 2019 at 8:52 pm

      The outfield that starts the season won’t end the season, bhoffman.

    • Bhoffman1

      February 2, 2019 at 9:07 am

      Start with the people the will end Rich that’s how you build a team and give young players confidence. Bucky shuffled young players almost ruin Gausman by going that his first year here.

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