Last week, news broke that the Cubs had signed free agent outfielder/first baseman Trey Mancini to a two-year contract that will pay him $14 million, with another $7 million in incentives. Mancini can opt out of this deal if he has 350 plate appearances this season.
Today, the Cubs officially announced this signing. To make room on the 40-man roster for Mancini, lefthanded reliever Anthony Kay was designated for assignment. As they have done with other players this winter, the Cubs are obviously hoping that Kay will clear waivers and can be assigned to Triple-A Iowa. “As always, we await developments.”
Mancini, who will turn 31 in March, had some very good years with the Orioles from 2017-19 (including finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2017) before missing the 2020 season for cancer treatments. He returned to Baltimore in 2021 and had a very good .255/.326/.432 (142-for-556) season with 21 home runs in 147 games, producing 1.9 bWAR. He wasn’t as good in 2022, splitting the year between Baltimore and Houston.
With the Cubs, Mancini is likely to play first base against lefthanders, though he actually hit RHP better in 2022 (.738 OPS) than lefthanders (.650 OPS). He can also play left field and right field, and will probably also serve as DH from time to time (the current Cubs 40-man roster lists him as a DH).
Here’s hoping Mancini has a 2023 more comparable to his pre-2021 level of performance.