BALTIMORE—On a cold, wet Sunday morning, about 1,200 fans gathered a few blocks from M&T Bank Stadium to salute Trey Mancini’s charity works on behalf of 13-year-old cancer patient Mo Gaba at a tailgate before the Ravens game with the San Francisco 49ers.
Mancini, who acknowledged being cold despite attending many foul-weather Notre Dame football games while a student, has become involved with the young superfan of the Orioles and Ravens.
“I’m honestly touched with how many people came out, even with the weather,” Mancini said.
For several years, Adam Jones had charity tailgates several blocks away. Now that Jones is gone, Mancini is picking up for him. He hopes the event can become an annual one.
“Adam really taught me well, showed me how to try to do things the right way, especially in the community,” Mancini said. “I wanted to put my own little spin on it because you can’t really fill Adam’s shoes.”
Mancini just completed his third season and is eligible for arbitration for the first time. He said he doesn’t expect to be traded.
“I really don’t think so,” Mancini said. “I feel very similarly to how I felt at the All-Star break this year. I’m pretty confident I’m going to stay. I’d like to stay, obviously. It’s out of my control, [but] I like my chances of staying.”
Mancini championed Jonathan Villar during the latter part of the season, and despite the news that Villar been put on waivers ahead of Monday’s deadline for offering 2020 contracts, continues to.
“He had such a good year,” Mancini said. “I’ve said it a ton of times this years, I think he’s possibly the most underrated player in baseball.
“Whether he’s with us or another team, he’s really going to help out whatever team he’s on this year. It’s one of the decisions you have to make when you’re going through a rebuild.”
Mancini, who hit .294 with 35 home runs and 97 RBIs and was named Most Valuable Oriole has tried to be realistic about the team’s philosophy during the past two difficult years. He expressed support for Executive Vice President/General Manager Mike Elias and assistant General Manager, analytics, Sig Mejdal.
“I think everybody realizes,” Mancini said. “Elias and Sig, they know what they’re doing. Look what they did in Houston. I think a lot of people here trust the process.
“We’ve got a very knowledgeable fan base here. They know what it takes in a rebuild. It’s tough. Villar’s such a good player, such a good guy to have around. He rallies the team when we need to be rallied and if he’s not with us, we’ll definitely miss that. But I think the fans should know that every decision that’s made is for the good of the organization, and in the long haul, [but] I’d love Villar to be on our team next year, for sure.”
Mancini and Villar, two of seven Orioles eligible for arbitration, must be offered contracts by Monday at 8 p.m., or they become free agents. Another, starting pitcher Dylan Bundy, has been mentioned in trade talks.
“It’s just part of baseball, unfortunately,” Mancini said. “There’s always going to be trade rumors. There are always going to be moving parts. Wherever you are, it’s your job to rally the troops a little bit and do your best for that team. Like Villar, I hope Dylan is with us next year.”
Mancini, who is working out in Nashville this offseason, said that he has not heard anything from the Orioles about a possible extension.