Orioles need to sign Trey Mancini to long-term contract - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles need to sign Trey Mancini to long-term contract

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

CHICAGO—Every team needs a player to rally around, to serve as the so-called “face of the franchise.” The Orioles have that player in Trey Mancini.

Over the past several weeks, a number of teams have extended the contracts of their most promising players, buying off years of arbitration and the first few years of free agency. That’s what the Orioles should do with Mancini.

Mancini missed the past two games because of a bruised right index finger. After Tuesday’s rainout, he should be back in the lineup today when the Orioles and Chicago White Sox play a doubleheader beginning at 4:10 p.m. Eastern time.

After Mike Elias became the Orioles’ general manager, he sent an email to season ticket-holders, identifying those he thought would be building blocks for the future. He named Dylan Bundy, Mychal Givens, Cedric Mullins and Mancini.

Mullins is back in Triple-A after being overmatched by major league pitching. Bundy and Givens have been disappointing, but Mancini has played brilliantly.

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Entering Tuesday, he led the American League in hits (39) and total bases (68). Mancini has a .355 average, a .405 on-base percentage and .618 slugging percentage. His OPS (on-base plus slugging) is 1.023.

A year ago, big things were also expected from Mancini, who had finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2017. However, Mancini had a horrid first few months and ended up slashing .242/.299/.416. His OPS of .715 was far below his rookie number of .826.

Mancini’s 2019 numbers are even more impressive when you look at the rest of his team’s offense. The Orioles have a .695 team OPS, ranking 12th in the American League. In their two games without Mancini, they were 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

A political science graduate of Notre Dame, whose father is a physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, Mancini’s intellect is obvious. He is also grounded — always generous with his time, and explains baseball concepts simply.

He’s admired for his work ethic and his willingness to accept responsibility.

When teams play poorly, some of the best players are hard to find after a game. Just like with Adam Jones, who served as the unofficial team spokesman when the Orioles hit a rough patch, Mancini won’t hide and never refuses an interview request.

With Jones, Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop gone and Chris Davis still working to re-establish himself, Mancini is the player the media often comes to for comment. He doesn’t embrace the role, but he accepts it.

The Orioles are 10-20, an improvement of two wins over last season’s first 30 games. It’s clear the team is in the early days of rebuilding.

While Givens could always be traded, the Orioles aren’t likely to receive a top-shelf prospect in return. Before Brad Brach, Zack Britton and Darren O’Day were traded last July, Givens was the team’s fourth-best reliever, and he’s not going to be another team’s closer after the July 31 trading deadline.

Mancini, on the other hand, could bring in a huge haul, but the Orioles shouldn’t think about it.

If Elias seriously considers trading Mancini, it would be indication that he doesn’t think the Orioles are going to be much better by 2022, Mancini’s final year under club control.

Mancini will be eligible for arbitration following this season, and the Orioles could have him for three more years without negotiating a new contract. They shouldn’t hesitate to do that.

Attendance at home games continues to fall, and fans need a player to identify with. There’s no better one than Mancini.

In Mancini’s three-plus years with the team, I haven’t heard a negative word about him, and in the catty baseball world, that’s remarkable.

Mancini has a Twitter account, but unlike Jones, uses it sparingly, and never for anything controversial.

Elias has many priorities. For the next month or so, he’ll be focused on his first draft and then must sign those players and assign them to affiliates. Once that’s done, the trade deadline looms.

Givens, who can’t be a free agent for another two seasons, and Andrew Cashner, a free agent after this season, are arguably two of the Orioles’ most tradeable commodities.

After trading Machado, Britton, Brach, O’Day, Schoop and Kevin Gausman a year ago the Orioles aren’t left with many boldface names. Some fans have shown patience with the rebuild. Others are getting anxious.

One way to show stability and investment in the future would be to sign Mancini to a five- or six-year extension, one that would take care of his three years of arbitration and two or three years of free agency.

Mancini is 27, and signing him through his age 33 season seems like a wise investment.

The rebuild may not show tangible results for another two seasons or so. In the meantime, Elias needs to show the fans that the Orioles are serious about keeping their best players.

Trey Mancini is their best player, and he needs to stay with the Orioles for years to come.

46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    May 1, 2019 at 7:17 am

    Sign him now, pickOSU catcher w/1st pick…here we O’s here we go….

  2. Stephen in Shanghai

    May 1, 2019 at 7:22 am

    Mancini is having a great start to the year, and he’s clearly a stand-up guy. Signing a guy until he’s 33, however, sounds like the kind of thing that we have been regretting a lot around here recently. If we’re gonna stink the next 2-3 years, and a team is willing to give us some good prospects who could blossom at the same time the club is ready to contend, it’s the move the O’s need to make.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 1, 2019 at 8:07 am

      It seems like a lot of fans agree with you, Stephen. Opinions clearly divided.

    • Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

      May 1, 2019 at 10:54 am

      100% agreed with Stephen here. This would be like if the 2011 Astros had signed Hunter Pence to an extension.

      See how ridiculous that sounds in hindsight? That’s how this would look, even if Trey winds up as a more productive player than Pence.

  3. CGarcia

    May 1, 2019 at 7:24 am

    Well, you need to look at Chris Davis when you think about extending 1B/DH types, history shows it’s not a good investment.

    However the fanbase is desperate for a hero/symbol of hope during these dark years, but the team should wait and not pivot off course from the rebuild. Another bad contract will set us back.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 1, 2019 at 8:08 am

      It’s not an apt comparison, CGarcia. Davis was a true free agent and Mancini is three years away from it so the money would be less.

    • Borg

      May 1, 2019 at 5:45 pm

      History shows it’s not a good investment just because Davis was a bad contract? That’s a pretty big stretch. Why assume it’s a bad contract before it even gets negotiated? If Mancini gets dealt there will be nothing but empty seats at Camden Yards. I think people are already rejecting the premise that this team will be interesting while they grow. With the pitching staff throwing batting practice every night, it’s not even remotely entertaining and we’ve just entered May.

  4. PC in OC

    May 1, 2019 at 7:29 am

    Amen!

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 1, 2019 at 7:38 am

    I agree with you Rich, he should be locked up …. but the question is at what price?

    • Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

      May 1, 2019 at 11:09 am

      I generally agree with you Boog, but not on this one. It doesn’t make sense for Mancini to entertain an extension unless it’s for significantly more money than he would otherwise get in arbitration. And why would the Orioles voluntarily pay more, while in rebuild mode?

      If I’m Mancini, I certainly do not commit to the Orioles beyond their years of control, as there is no clear understanding of where the team will be in three years. Two years down the road, if it looks like the team is moving in the right direction, then maybe it would make sense for him. But I’m certain that if you got Mancini to sit down and have a beer with you, he would agree that he doesn’t want to commit the next 5-6 years — his prime years, BTW — to a team with no chance of winning. Would you?

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 1, 2019 at 11:45 am

        For a cool 60 to 80 million in guaranteed money over then next 6 or 7 years … I certainly WOULD sign up. Like I said … at what price?

        The guy is already 27, is NOT a proven star by any means, and considering the risk of injury over the next 3 years …. makes sense to me. Take the money and run. Absolutely I would.

        And considering he’s a 1st baseman … I’m not sure he’s the power bat you’re looking for in that position.

  6. Bhoffman1

    May 1, 2019 at 7:41 am

    Agree with you totally on this one. Givens for Addison Russel is the perfect trade for the O’s and Cubs

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 1, 2019 at 8:09 am

      Bruce, it’s nice to see that we finally agree on something!

    • SpinMaster

      May 1, 2019 at 8:31 am

      Bhoff: I couldn’t agree more. Both Russel and Givens needs a change of environment and we could really use Russel at shortstop for this year and near future. Richie Martin, if he stays with us the entire year, should be at AA next year to further his development.

    • Camden Brooks

      May 1, 2019 at 10:18 am

      Martin hit .300 in a full AA season last year, so if he sticks this year and goes down next year, I’d hope it would be to Norfolk.

  7. Orial

    May 1, 2019 at 8:32 am

    Rich I agree extend him. A month ago I would have thought not. First off comparing an extension to Davis’ is ridiculous(different type of offensive approach). An extension more than likely wouldn’t be for $25 million a year(more like $16). It would show stability –something a downtrodden fan base is desperate for. One other thought about Trey that has sealed the deal for me Rich is him playing RF instead of LF. He seems to look more comfortable/capable in RF(less territory to cover). Rich you have my vote.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 1, 2019 at 10:58 am

      You’d give Mancini $16 million a year for 5/6 years? Are you kidding me? I’d love to be the agent dealing with a GM named Orial!

      I’m thinking 9-10 per year is MORE than sufficient for a 27 year old player that is a good but not great hitter and one that doesn’t have a position. Yeah, yeah I know … 1st base …. but let’s reserve that for Mountcastle.

      $16 million? Really?

      • Orial

        May 1, 2019 at 11:42 am

        Ok Boog I’ll compromise–$12 million. Extensions are definitely based on,lower salaries but taking the gamble out of it for the ballplayer. Semi reward.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          May 1, 2019 at 11:48 am

          Fair enough.

        • Jbigle1

          May 2, 2019 at 2:13 pm

          You have to consider his projected arb salaries when you’re hammering out an extension. Let’s use JD Martinez as an Arb baseline. That’s a very favorable arb comp for Mancini’s camp. He received 3MM, 6.75MM, and 11.3. That gives you a total of 21MM. For PV sake will give Mancini a bump on that and call it 23. So there’s your baseline for the next 3 years. I’m sure you’re not giving him more than 5 in an extension so from my point of view I can’t see how an extension to Mancini would go any higher than 5/55. That would put a 16MM valuation on his two FA seasons. Mancini is old for a guy in arbitration. Defensively limited players aren’t giddy about hitting FA at 31. He’s years off from FA and he has very little cash banked at this point.

          If I were betting, I’d take the under on the valuation I just laid out though I think that’s reasonable.

    • Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

      May 1, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Why on Earth would the Orioles pay that much more money to him than he’d normally get in arbitration? This is not a team on the cusp of winning where it would make sense to pay a little more to retain the talent. The Orioles are going to flirt with 100 losses this year, certainly next year, and possibly the year after. I don’t see the incentive to give away an extra $18-25M during a rebuild.

      • Borg

        May 5, 2019 at 6:24 am

        The Orioles would be paying more money now because it would let them lock him up past arbitration, and Mancini’s situation makes it very favorable for them to do so. He is entering his prime years but is not an established superstar so the money would be less than for someone like Machado. The Orioles right now can keep him locked up through age 30 and he might be willing to sign a six or seven year deal now to gain security past that time. He is only making $575,000 this year–a year of what he is producing now would likely push his arbitration number next season into the $4 million range, and if this year becomes his norm subsequent years would likely see that number go up substantionally. Money isn’t even a concern for the team right now given their paltry payroll so offering a seven year $63 million-$70 million would be good for both sides. If they are hoping to ever market this team again they desperately need SOMEONE to be the face of the franchise and Mancini as a homegrown product fits the bill. I think one could argue that the Os need him for that role almost as much as the role he plays on the field.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 1, 2019 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you, Orial. There are many fans who agree with me, and many who don’t.

  8. OsfansinWV

    May 1, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Definitely need to sign him to an extension, price/yrs could be interesting though. IMO, Villar is another guy they should consider extending. Rich, what’s your thoughts on extending Villar as well?

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 1, 2019 at 4:44 pm

      Villar could have some value on the trade market. He has another year before free agency, so I wouldn’t expect an extension there, WV.

  9. Djowen

    May 1, 2019 at 9:27 am

    I am not against signing him to an extension but I would wait until after this season to do it. See what he can bring first. Alone it may not be enough but maybe pair him with Givens or someone else and he might bring a better prospect(s).

  10. Tony Paparella

    May 1, 2019 at 9:28 am

    At first it was an a obvious decision from my standpoint but I was unaware the Orioles have him for 3 more years.I would wait at least another year before making an offer like you stated to see how the team is transforming.The Orioles do definitely need to retain a player of his ability, attitude and determination. You hit it right on the nose when you described him as “grounded” as that is an excellent description of Trey Mancini.

  11. willmiranda

    May 1, 2019 at 10:15 am

    As a fan of both Mancini and the Orioles, I agree with extending him. Mentally, though, a couple things interfere. One, he’s off to a great start, but with the O’s being so awful, he’s getting pitches to hit. Nobody wants to put him on base rather than have him put the ball in play with the odds of 2-1 being he’ll make an out. Even a home run will probably not cost the opposition a loss. Mancini’s very good, but his exact value is a little hard to gauge, especially for a long-term deal. Two, I don’t think the new regime is wedded to him, as can be seen by the fates of other players on Elias’s list. Thus, I see him gone sooner rather than later to show the new regime’s acumen in spotting real prospects. Mancini’s got a lot to offer a contender, especially as a team-oriented player, and I expect Elias to get a credible offer before August.

    • Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

      May 1, 2019 at 10:45 am

      Your logic is backwards. If everyone around him is a poor hitter (and that’s not really the case) then you wouldn’t pitch to Trey, you would pitch to the bad hitters, giving you an even higher percentage chance of making the one out, and possibly two.

      • willmiranda

        May 1, 2019 at 12:06 pm

        I’m surprised you’ve belied your sobriquet “Says Throw Strikes.” You never give a feeble opponent a chance to get off the ground with a freebie. This is a team that plays small ball; the only way they can beat you is by a series of guys getting on –hits, walks, errors, whatever. Putting someone on gives hope and also gets the pitcher throwing non-strikes. I don’t want to overstate. I’m simply saying that there is no need to pitch around Mancini because he can’t beat you, but you can be beaten by a rally that starts with a free base runner. Game situations change things, and there are times to give Mancini an intentional walk, but in most situations I would say throw strikes.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 1, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      You may be correct, Will.

  12. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    May 1, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Brandon Hyde has praised Mancini’s hitting noting he is just scratching the surface of his ability. So working out an extension this season would seem to make sense. Atlanta did this with Acuna and Albies. However, if the Orioles get a offer of a top pitching prospect or a package of prospects at the trade deadline. They will likely trade him.

    • Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

      May 1, 2019 at 11:00 am

      Sadly, the 2019 Orioles and the 2019 Braves have little in common so the comparison is not valid. Made sense for the Braves to lock up Acuna based on their talent level, expectations of competing, and Acuna’s age (he’s only 21). None of those factors are in play for the Orioles.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 1, 2019 at 11:01 am

      And who exactly HASN’T Hyde praised so far? With all the praise and stroking this guy has done in the 1st month, I’m confused as to why we’re not in 1st place?

    • Grand Strand Bird Fan

      May 1, 2019 at 1:37 pm

      I am not comparing organizations or players. Teams are looking at cost analysis of whether its beneficial to buy out their arbitration years. Many players are finding it difficult to get lucrative contracts as free agents. If Mancini strings together a few standout seasons it maybe in the best interests of both parties to consider this move. Being former CFO I do know a little about cost analysis.

  13. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    May 1, 2019 at 10:40 am

    This will not be a popular opinion…

    This makes no sense to me. I don’t understand why the team would do that when he’s already under control for his prime years. We aren’t talking about a 21 year old phenom that you want to lock up for a decade.

    Sadly, Trey needs to be traded eventually. I’m a fan of his, but I’m a bigger fan of the team, and a fan of moving the rebuild as far along as quickly as they reasonably can.

    What this first month has definitively shown us is that this team is no where close to competing. Many folks (several here) *lost their minds* when Santander/Hays/et al were sent to the minors because they fell in love with misleading Spring Training stats. None of them, except for Mountcastle, are showing they are anywhere near ready to be full-time major leaguers. I expect Hays will get back on track once healthy, and I think we see Mountcastle sometime later this summer — though for the life of me, I have no idea how they squeeze another 1B/DH type onto this roster.

    This is all a long way of saying that significant reinforcements are a ways off still, so why would they ride Mancini, keep him on a poor team and waste his prime years? And why would they pay more to do that? This makes no sense.

    Let’s see what he does this year. Obviously, he’s going to come down from a .355 average, so let’s see where he settles. Then, if he has a good season, you trade him next year and get the best haul you can. If the return is not attractive because of performance, then that’s further evidence that he shouldn’t be signed for more years/dollars.

    I hope he plays well, and the O’s grant him a get-out-of-jail-free card, and let him go someplace where his talents can actually make a difference. They won’t here. His value to the Orioles is in what he brings back in a trade, not what he does on the field for a poor team in rebuild mode. Does anyone *honestly* believe that signing Trey to an extension is going to bring more fans out to the ballpark? Yeah, maybe 50 per night. This is not to insult Mancini — far from it. You could put Mike Trout on this team, and it would barely move the attendance needle once the novelty wore off.

    I’d rather see him traded with a nice haul, and playing on a team with a chance to do something greater than simply avoid 100 losses. Think back to the Brian Roberts days. A lot of his talent wasted on many terrible teams. I hope for more for Trey, as he seems like a truly wonderful guy, and a talented player.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 1, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      Zoey, your opinion is not an unpopular one. Many agree with you. I don’t think signing Mancini will draw more fans, but it may keep some of the wavering ones on board.

  14. Orial

    May 1, 2019 at 11:47 am

    There’s gonna come a point, even during a rebuild, where trading away every promising player for prospects will start to work against the system. Mancini’s cause could go either way.

  15. geevee3

    May 1, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Since when does extending him mean we can’t trade him later if the right deal comes along. If you extend him at a reasonable price any team trading for him assumes the contract. A team friendly contract increases his value.

  16. BirdsCaps

    May 1, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    I’m a not sure what to do with mancini. If he continues his great year and the right package came up, I would probably trade him. If the birds don’t want to do that, then we should sign him long term (by modern standards 5ish years). However, the birds can not be in between in their decision making. There were plenty of opportunities for the birds to resign Machado, and there were (allegedly) plenty of trade partners offering quality returns. The orioles chose neither and got Diaz and a few mid-level prospects. This left the team with nearly nothing to begin the rebuild with. With all of that said, Mancini is good but he isn’t machado, however they should not be indecisive.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 1, 2019 at 3:24 pm

      BirdsCaps, I believe Mike Elias is anything but indecisive.

  17. Ekim

    May 1, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    After reading 37 comments I’m sort of surprised that no one put the proposal in Mancini’s hands. If he’s a true “warrior”, and wants to play for a winner then why would he commit to six years with a team that can only offer a hopeful reemergence to respectability, with “hopeful” the operative word. He’s basically the only legitimate Major Leaguer on the team and playing with a lot of “wanna-be” types can get old rather quickly. Like a lot of you have mentioned, he’s 27 and, as they say, “tempus fugit”. If I were him (and I’m not), I’d be counting the days I have to suffer through this mess and NOT looking to extend my days in purgatory. Just sayin…

  18. TxBirdFan

    May 1, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t see a reason why Mancini would sign an extension unless it was for outrageous $$, and the wO’s aren’t doing that. If I’m him I’d wait to see if I could play for a contender AND get paid well. I don’t see contending on the horizon for the wO’s so why would he sign?

    • CalsPals

      May 1, 2019 at 9:03 pm

      Lots of ifs, it’s a gamble, he waits until next yr & has a yr like last yr, his value drops, sign now & get hurt, have a great few yrs…being 27 is probably why he wouldn’t mind signing, just thinking out loud…

  19. Hallbe62

    May 2, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Rich, count me as one who agrees that Mancini should be extended. 33 years of age is not old to a MLB athlete. Anyone thinking so, has their mind stuck in the NFL.

    There are many players performing well (way too many to begin mentioning here) in MLB at this age. To me it’s a no-brainer.

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