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Orioles trade Trey Mancini to Astros; three-team deal also includes Rays

I wasn’t ready for this.

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles
Miss you already, Trey.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Orioles have kicked off the sprint towards tomorrow’s trade deadline by trading a fan favorite. The Athletic’s Dan Connolly reported on Monday afternoon that Trey Mancini has been traded to the Astros. Ken Rosenthal, also of The Athletic, reported that it’s a three-team trade that also includes the Rays.

In the swap, the O’s are receiving a player from both the Astros and Rays, and the Rays and Astros sent players back and forth from one another. The full trade, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan:

  • To Houston: Trey Mancini, RHP Jayden Murray (from TB)
  • To Tampa Bay: OF Jose Siri (from HOU)
  • To the Orioles: RHP Seth Johnson (from TB), RHP Chayce McDermott (from HOU)

McDermott, who will turn 24 later this month, is a very Mike Elias player to acquire. He was Houston’s fourth round pick last year. Elias loves acquiring the mid-round pitchers he hasn’t been drafting. McDermott played his college ball at Ball State, where he was a strikeout machine. He’s carried that over into the pro ranks - he’s been blistering High-A hitters with 113 strikeouts in 74 innings this year. That also comes with a high walk rate - 13% of batters seen this season.

Johnson, who will turn 24 next month, is on the injured list currently and according to Rosenthal is headed for Tommy John surgery. The risk of the surgery is probably what made him available to the Orioles. It’s an interesting risk to take. He is the #89 prospect in all of baseball in FanGraphs recent top 100 update. Johnson was the #40 overall pick by the Rays in the 2019 draft out of Campbell University. That means he’ll need to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from the next Rule 5 draft - also surely a factor in him being available in a trade like this.

Before getting hurt, Johnson had made seven starts for High-A Bowling Green, striking out 41 batters in 27 innings. We can be sure that’s what part of what Elias noticed in targeting him.

This one is a gut punch on an emotional level for a number of reasons. Mancini was a fun out-of-nowhere prospect when he arrived in MLB and immediately made a great impression by homering three times in his first five games at the tail end of the 2016 season. He followed this up by hitting 24 home runs in his rookie year, finishing third in the voting for Rookie of the Year, and kind of by default became the face of the franchise as the team headed into sad territory by falling apart in 2018.

Add to this Mancini missing 2020 due to cancer treatments, returning successfully, and being one of the team’s best players this year, and it’s just sad. You know? It would have been nice to see this Orioles team, currently .500 with 62 games to play, ride out the season with the guys they have and see what they can do. It would have been nice to see Mancini getting to play more for a winning Orioles team. Instead... this.

At least it is nice to know that Mancini is headed for a team that’s winning a lot. The Astros are 67-36 this year! Pretty good. They could use an upgrade at first base, as Yuli Gurriel, now 38, seems to have had Father Time catch up to him. Gurriel is only hitting .243/.293/.392 this season. Mancini’s an almost certain upgrade there, especially considering he’s now escaped from his 2022 nemesis Mount Walltimore - at least until September 22-25, when the Astros will be in Baltimore.