It's time for the Orioles to give Mancini a contract extension - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

It’s time for the Orioles to give Mancini a contract extension

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Now that the nation knows what we in Baltimore have long known, that Trey Mancini is a special person and not a bad baseball player, it’s time to make sure he stays here.

Mancini, who captivated the baseball world with his inspiring story and his finals appearance in Monday’s Home Run Derby that was won by the Mets’ Pete Alonso, has another 1 ½ seasons under the Orioles’ control before he can become a free agent.

A year ago, Mancini still had more than two months of chemotherapy to endure after his March 12, 2020 surgery for colon cancer. On Monday night, that was hardly forgotten as his story reminded folks how fortunate the Orioles and Baltimore are to have him.

That point may be emphasized between now and July 30th when the trading deadline comes, and Mancini’s name is likely to be mentioned.

Mancini’s power and leadership would be an asset for any contender, but for one particular non-contender, he’s even more important.

I’m not sure what Mancini would bring in return, but with attendance at Oriole Park low and fans fixated on the draft and minor league prospects instead of the big-league club, trading him would be a mistake.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias is a decidedly unemotional, clinical operator, as he should be. Fan attachment to a player shouldn’t generally be taken into consideration.

This time it’s different.

With a team that’s on pace for 111 losses and would have to play nearly .500 ball (35-38) to avoid losing 100 games, there should be few untouchables.

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It would be hard to part with starting pitcher John Means or centerfielder Cedric Mullins. Perhaps easier to trade rightfielder Anthony Santander or left-handed relievers Paul Fry or Tanner Scott. But it should be unthinkable to move Mancini.

After all he’s gone through, to produce as well as he has — 16 homers, 55 RBIs, a .331 on-base percentage, a .791 OPS, a .256 batting average — Mancini should be treasured.

Those stats make him among the team’s leaders, but there’s something more important than the numbers.

Younger players look at Mancini as an example of how a player should carry himself: Work hard, don’t complain, do your best.

When the team suffered through a 14-game losing streak, equaling the second longest in club history, Mancini was encouraging others. He didn’t have to say it, but if he could endure cancer surgery and rounds of invasive chemotherapy, they shouldn’t be feeling sorry for themselves.

You often read and hear about team leaders, but Mancini’s type of leadership is authentic.

In a Zoom call to talk about the Home Run Derby, Mancini acknowledged that the pulls on his time can be tiring. There are moments when he’d prefer to have some time to himself, but he serves willingly as an advocate for colon cancer research because it’s needed.

Cancer survivors are special people. When they’re diagnosed, they seek out others who’ve experienced the horrors of this disease, and when they’re pronounced cancer-free, they’re glad to help others who’ve contracted the disease.

It’s no secret that the Orioles aren’t close to contention, and if the Orioles traded Mancini to a contender, perhaps they could get another piece or two to help them in the long run.

But the team needs players fans can identify with, and Mancini’s performance a year after missing an entire season is reaching a wider audience.

With a season-and-a-half left before free agency, Mancini is probably at the height of his value. If the Orioles traded him in the offseason or waited until a year from now, they would most likely get less.

He’ll turn 30 next March, doesn’t run well, isn’t a plus defender, and his value on the field comes as a power hitter. His value off the field can’t be measured.

Under Elias, the Orioles haven’t signed a player to a long-term deal. They’re still wary after the Chris Davis contract. I don’t know what sort of a contract Mancini might accept, should one be offered, but it wouldn’t come close to the seven-year, $161 million contract Davis signed. The Davis contract will expire when Mancini is eligible for free agency.

A Mancini contract extension would give the fans something to be happy about, a reward for their patience through five losing seasons, and generate goodwill in Baltimore.

Fans know that Mancini, who has never moaned about the losing, would work hard to stay in shape as he ages, and that he’ll be a player his teammates and fans can continue to identify with and cheer for.

It seems unlikely that the Orioles will go this route, but it’s time to ensure that Mancini’s only baseball home will be in Baltimore.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

54 Comments

54 Comments

  1. musicmanjr

    July 14, 2021 at 7:38 am

    Rich, your comment “the team needs players fans can identify with” says it all. Hard core Oriole fans will ride with the team through this long term rebuild. Casual fans need an ORIOLE to root for. The 2017 and 2018 teams had Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, and Adam Jones. The players were exciting. The fans loved the guys and it showed in the attendance figures (if not the standings). What players on the 2021 squad can our fanbase pull for other than Mancini, Mullins, or Mountcastle?

    The roster is overturned each season with the same 5th place results. Elias can deal Mancini for prospects, but O’s fans will continue to drift away as a result. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to get them back.

  2. PC in OC

    July 14, 2021 at 7:42 am

    Great Article! Mancini is Special. Let’s hope & pray, That Elias, fully understands that and any trade, wouldn’t make up, what he does for the Orioles. And Please, Please, do not compare him, CD!!

  3. Buzz1979

    July 14, 2021 at 7:46 am

    No, he goes to the highest bidder on July 31!

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 14, 2021 at 8:04 am

      Trade deadline is July 30 this year.

  4. Orial

    July 14, 2021 at 8:20 am

    Don’t trade him. Number one: the return wouldn’t be earth-breaking(maybe a #5 in someone’s system/2nd tier) Number two:Cal,Brooks,and AJ meant a lot but in this dreary period Trey’s significace may surpass them. Simply put–the return would underwhelm. Agree Rich no to trading him.

  5. chico salmon

    July 14, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Thank you, Rich, for making such a strong statement and going on the record in support of retaining and extending Trey. I’ve been reading your columns for years, and can’t recall your speaking out so strongly and, basically, calling out the Orioles management. You say at the end “it seems unlikely that the Orioles will go this route”. It seems as if you believe Trey will, in fact, be traded. Do you?

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 14, 2021 at 10:00 am

      Yes, but not this season.

      • WorldlyView

        July 14, 2021 at 3:52 pm

        Agree: most likely scenario is they trade him when it becomes apparent that free agent-to-be-Mancini is unlikely to accept what the O’s are willing to pay him. I foresee a Machado-esque deal to save money and gain even more prospects. It’s possible, but unlikely that current ownership will give priority to pleasing their fan-base and shell out the money that would be necessary to keep a valuable and popular player.

  6. CalsPals

    July 14, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Sign him, just don’t pull a bait & switch, I’m guessing at nearly 30 he would take less to stay with some future stability, my concern would be that contract extension would make him even more tradeable by Mikey, also saw Freeman with his kiddo & Tatis Jr, Trey needs to make an honest women of his longtime girlfriend & start a Lafamila to carry on the Mancini name, he’d be a great father…go O’s…

  7. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 14, 2021 at 8:46 am

    Power hitting 1st basemen. Not that hard to find. You’re not going to get a lot in return, so why trade him?

    I’m afraid to even think of what Elias’ answer to that question would be.

  8. Birdman

    July 14, 2021 at 8:50 am

    Rich, agree 100% … the Orioles already have an absurdly low payroll … if ownership isn’t even willing to step up in this extraordinary situation to make an investment keep Mancini, they will be insulting their (diminishing) fan base, and reinforcing the worst fears about the future of the franchise.

  9. PilarcikTriandos

    July 14, 2021 at 9:05 am

    Remember the Frank Robinson trade? Cincinnati GM said he was an “old thirty.” We got talent, leadership, and intangibles. Plus six productive years. Don’t trade Mancini; sign him.

  10. BenSch

    July 14, 2021 at 9:21 am

    I always felt that one of the things the O’s had going for them in the glory years was their culture. we’ll never have a budget that competes w the Yanks’ but we have the Oriole Way!
    There are a lot of un-quantifiables in baseball that I think a lot of baseball people don’t understand or value.

  11. Nellie

    July 14, 2021 at 9:40 am

    TIME OUT.
    Who said he wants to stay here? Why would he? The best crab cakes in the world? Sorry, that’s not enough.

    Maybe, just maybe, he would like to join a pennant contender. It will never happen in Baltimore while he still has market value. Show real compassion for him. Give him a fair 2 year extension and then see who might be interested in him. Could be win-win for everyone. Especially Trey.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      July 14, 2021 at 1:29 pm

      Clearly, you don’t like crab cakes.

  12. Orioles20

    July 14, 2021 at 10:21 am

    I love Mancini and his story and what he means to this team and the city but he’s only controllable for one more year. We should do right by him and trade him to a contender so he can win. A team like the brewers comes to mind. It doesn’t make sense to keep him when mountcastle is capable at first.

    • Birdman

      July 14, 2021 at 10:32 am

      Mancini, of course, will have the option of going the free agent route, if that’s what he wants … that isn’t the issue here, which is whether the Orioles organization is even willing to make an investment to keep him here, if he would like to stay.

  13. willmiranda

    July 14, 2021 at 10:51 am

    I strongly agree with all the good things said about Mancini. That’s why I was glad to see him perform so well at the All Star events, where his talents were appreciated and rewarded. Similarly, I’d like to see him in a situation where he can flaunt a ring at the end of a season. And I don’t see that happening where he is now. Many say they are willing to be patient until the O’s become competitive, and that horizon seems to recede every year. I don’t think Trey has that much time. Let’s be honest: if this regime gives him an extension, it will only be to increase his market value.

  14. VegasOriole

    July 14, 2021 at 11:14 am

    No way this team spends money. As much as I like Trey, I echo BRR’s comment. The players to sign now on Tampa style contracts are Means or Mullins. Would be nice, but I doubt it. This team hasnt signed a SIGNIFICANT free agent in years, I think its time to spend some$$$$, but you all know that answer.

  15. CalsPals

    July 14, 2021 at 11:45 am

    Baseball question, why was Ohtani given the win in the All-Star game after pitching only one inning?…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 14, 2021 at 11:58 am

      Because no starter pitches five innings, it’s just who’s in when the lead is taken and head. Same for spring training.

    • CalsPals

      July 14, 2021 at 4:49 pm

      Thx, then does he get credit for a no-hitter as well…lol…go O’s…

  16. Bhoffman1

    July 14, 2021 at 11:53 am

    I agree with you 100 per cent. It’s unlikely will go this route shows the class of this organization. Hope we are both wrong. There were a lot of young kids at the all star game last night. Baseball is trying to change their image. Like I said before I would hate to be a young kid growing up
    In Baltimore right now. Hopefully things will improve

    • Buzz1979

      July 14, 2021 at 1:02 pm

      He needs to join “Johnny Hustle” in San Diego, Padres need more production from 1B!

  17. Behemoth

    July 14, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    From purely a roster management standpoint, it makes sense to trade him. Mountcastle and Nevin are controllable for a long time for cheap and their best position is first base, and we have a star 1B on the IL who will be back in the spring (I kid, I kid).

    But the intangible case is as strong here as can be. It’s a tough call.

  18. Baltimore Castaway

    July 14, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    Am taking the alternate view.

    This team is so profoundly devoid of talent throughout their System still that they should trade him–if they can get a good return for him.

    Trey is a terrific person and player, but this team needs to get better and if they could get strong talent in return to hasten the improvement in their organizational depth they should do it.

    Remember also that the Orioles would be doing him a large favor in trading him to a contender–something he will never have a taste of as an Oriole at this stage in his career.

    That’s right–I said it.

  19. Eastern Sho Joe

    July 14, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    Rich, among the reasons you’re one of my favorite O’s writers is because you’re very consistent with relaying just the facts, which allows us, or me anyway, to draw our own conclusions. I’m not a fan of beat writers giving their opinion in every other sentence.

    However, I want to commend you on this article. Even though you included a substantial amount of info and data, it appears to me that you wrote this from the heart. Because of this, you captured a very important aspect of why I, and probably many others, have a deep passion for the O’s; and these are the intangible aspects. Many of these intangibles come from the connections that we the fans develop with special players who’ve played for the O’s.

    For me it’s Eddie. Among my fondest memories is being at Memorial Stadium, everyone shouting his name, then he hits the game winning homer. For other fans it’s Cal Jr, Brooks, Frank R, and the list goes on.

    These memories are intangibles, but they’re real to those of us that have them, and it’s been a long time since we’ve had a special player like that, and I think Mancini should be given the opportunity to go down as one of our greats.

    Trey embodies the attitude and spirit that everyone in Birdland should embrace right now, “just keep fighting.”

    Great article. Thanks.

    • Baltimore Castaway

      July 14, 2021 at 5:47 pm

      To paraphrase what the late Lloyd Benson said to Dan Quale; “Eddie is no Trey Mancini.”

      • Rich Dubroff

        July 14, 2021 at 6:34 pm

        Mike, it was Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle.

        • Baltimore Castaway

          July 14, 2021 at 7:12 pm

          I stand corrected…..quibble much??

          My point is that many fans have this romantic notion (in hindsight) about one Eddie Murray….he was unfriendly (at best) to Orioles Fans, hostile to the local Media, and never really embraced Baltimore.

          Pretty much acted ignorant his entire time here.

          That’s right….I said it.

          • Rich Dubroff

            July 14, 2021 at 8:19 pm

            Mike, I think that’s far too harsh. I didn’t cover Eddie Murray as a player during his prime, but he was cherished as a teammate by Cal Ripken Jr. and was involved in many charitable activities in Baltimore.

          • Buzz1979

            July 15, 2021 at 12:47 am

            castaway, you need to get LOST!

      • Buzz1979

        July 14, 2021 at 10:59 pm

        Eddie was much better.

    • CalsPals

      July 14, 2021 at 6:10 pm

      Agree they need to keep Mancini, respectfully though, he is no Eddie, Frank or Cal…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      July 14, 2021 at 6:11 pm

      Sorry, or Brooks…go O’s…

      • Eastern Sho Joe

        July 14, 2021 at 6:18 pm

        CP, I’m not claiming that Mancini is on their level, but he’s a fighter, and that in itself is very special.

    • WorldlyView

      July 14, 2021 at 6:12 pm

      ESJ, I share your fond memories of “Orioles Magic.” Will it return? I guess that largely depends on whether current ownership is willing to spend the considerable amount of cash required to retain great players in an age of big money free agency. If they want to run the franchise like a business that prioritizes profit maximization, the win-loss ratio will not be pleasant. How they handle a Mancini contract will be a big test of their intentions.

      • Eastern Sho Joe

        July 14, 2021 at 6:31 pm

        While we all have our own opinions, I believe this group is in it to win it. Even though it’s mostly behind the scenes, the O’s are spending $. Their expansion into the Latin American market is one of the most obvious examples.

        Elias came in with a decisive goal of returning the O’s back to being contenders for a long time, he laid out the strategy, they’ve stuck with it and we’ll all see if it’s successful within the next few years. And I think Mancini should be a part of it. 😉

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          July 14, 2021 at 11:41 pm

          Horse pucky that the O’s are spending money …anywhere.

          20 acres and a barracks constructed of cinder blocks and concrete, located in the hillsides of the D.R. cost less than a couple of row houses located in Old Town Alexandria. The only significant money they’re still spending is that of the ill-advised contract that a diminished Papa Angelos demanded of Duquette.

          This whole 5 or 6 year plan of Elias’ is simply a ruse to cover up for the Angelos clan putting next no capital into the organization until such time that it can be sold.

      • Buzz1979

        July 14, 2021 at 11:02 pm

        1979 vs Tigers Doug DeCinces 3 run HR of Detroit’s Dave Tobik, still remember where I was, in my friends car eating Domino’s Pizza!

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 14, 2021 at 6:34 pm

      Thank you, Joe. I don’t have a “hot take” on every game, every player, and don’t have many strong opinions because most things are many faceted.

      • Eastern Sho Joe

        July 14, 2021 at 6:54 pm

        Mancini’s contract has many facets as well but I’m glad you had a hot take on this subject.

        While I respect Elias’ data driven strategy, I hope they don’t ignore the intangibles that come with Mancini.

    • CalsPals

      July 14, 2021 at 6:56 pm

      ESJ, agree, he has the intangibles our youngens need to see everyday, that is reason enough to keep him…go O’s…

      • WorldlyView

        July 15, 2021 at 12:39 am

        CP: Do you think “reason” prevails at the highest levels of Orioles, Inc.?

    • CalsPals

      July 15, 2021 at 7:44 am

      WV, no, but I can hope…lmao…go O’s…

  20. cedar

    July 14, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Is like to see Mancini stay here is entire career. But what I don’t want to see is several years from now when he’s no longer the story of this franchise, no longer belting 20+ homers, 80-90 RBI’s, and batting .275+, the fans turning on him for a bloated contract. Too many fans are fickle and too many more have short memories.

    • cedar

      July 14, 2021 at 6:25 pm

      Sorry that first sentence should read: “I’d like to see Mancini stay here his entire career.”

  21. jimpalmer65

    July 14, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    For all the reasons on and off the field everybody has stated is true about Mancini, that’s why he should be traded and the asking price should be high and if you don’t get it, “THEN DON”T MAKE THE TRADE”. Wait to the offseason and see if you can get what you want then. If not then resign him. I will say it again the O’s in any potential trades of Mancini, Means, Fry, Scott and Santander have the LEVERAGE (Yrs Team Control, Fan Sentimentality) The asking price should be high 2-3 prospects with 1-2 being in MLB Top 100 and the other 1-2 prospects in the teams Top 30. I would be targeting Seattle(3rd Rank Farm System), San Diego (7) & SF (11) Maybe, the best thing for the fans would be trade Mancini for some top prospects to a contender and those prospects help the O’s become a contender. And if by 2023 the O’s look like they can compete for the playoffs then sign FA Mancini who might be our Beltran was for Astros. If the Orioles in their heyday could trade Frank Robinson who put them over the hump to be in 4 WS and win 2 WS and on the road to be the best sports team in Wins from 1966 to 84. I remember when Jimmy Johnson was HC of the Cowboys and heard the similar reasons to not trade H. Walker. He did and the Cowboys won 3 Super Bowls. Trade Mancini if the return is right.

    • Buzz1979

      July 14, 2021 at 11:52 pm

      Ryan Ripken still in the organization is a complete joke! Only one reason he is still here duh!!

    • CalsPals

      July 15, 2021 at 7:45 am

      It’s ok Buzz, take your meds…go O’s…

  22. BirdsCaps

    July 16, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    Am I the only one who sees the Orioles pulling another machado? Don’t spend any money and trade him too late for almost zero return. Either that or don’t trade or resign him. There were rumors of verdugo for machado the offseason before the trade.

    • CalsPals

      July 16, 2021 at 1:21 pm

      Don’t want them to trade Mancini, BUT if they’re gonna, bigger return would be trading him now rather than later…go O’s…

    • Baltimore Castaway

      July 16, 2021 at 2:26 pm

      No, you are not the only one who sees the Orioles waiting too long to trade him.

      What I believe is being missed here is what is best for Trey. The Orioles are not going to sign him to a long term deal at this time. Most importantly, it would be in his best interest to be traded to a contending team and give him a chance to play for a Championship.

  23. mlbbirdfan

    July 18, 2021 at 11:28 am

    Trey reminds me of Nick Markakis. Quiet leader.

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