By: Noah Wright
Orioles outfielder/first baseman Trey Mancini is likely going to be one of the most coveted trade pieces at the deadline. Mancini has been a huge slugger this season. Through 353 plate appearances, the right handed Mancini is batting a strong .297/.354/.528 batting line. That also includes 17 home runs, and 130 wRC+. While Mancini has played right field the most this season, his defense in the grass has been lackluster to say the least. He has -11 DRS, and -3.6 UZR in left, so he will be more valuable as a first baseman, or DH. Plus, he will just be entering arbitration this off-season. At the deadline, a handful of teams are going to be in on Mancini, so among those, who is the best fit for Mancini?
- Houston Astros:
Yuli Gurriel and Tyler White have combined to make a very unimpressive duo at first base and DH. In 2018, White hit a strong .276/.354/.533, 12 long balls, and 142 OPS+ in 237 plate appearances. While Yuli Gurriel is still hitting for a solid .275/.309/.443 in 343 plate appearances, as a 1B, he’s really lacking the production of a 1B. Yordan Alvarez is really helping the cause by blasting 7 home runs in his first 17 games, the team could add another bat considering that Jose Altuve is having a so-so season for Altuve standards, and Carlos Correa is still on the IL. The team still has a solid farm system. A package including, if not both of Forest Whitley, and/or Kyle Tucker plus some other pieces such as J.B. Bukauskas, and Myles Straw could reel in Mancini.
- Colorado Rockies:
Daniel Murphy hasn’t worked fully to plan. Not only did he miss a fair chunk of time to injury, he has been far from the producer he was a few seasons ago. In 235 plate appearances, Murphy has a .272/.325/.437 line, and 82 OPS+. Thirdbaseman Colten Welker has kind of become expendable after the Rockies gave Nolan Arenado a massive extension. While he isn’t doing super great in AA, he is just 21 years old, and ranked as MLB.com’s #57th prospect. The Rockies could also throw in Peter Lambert and/or former top prospect Ryan McMahon into the deal as well.
- Milwaukee Brewers:
Last year, Jesus Aguilar was one of the MLB’s biggest breakout stars. He batted .274/.352/.539 with 35 home runs, and a 134 OPS+ in 566 PA’s. This season, the 1B is batting just .209/.316/.335 with 6 home runs, a 70 OPS+ in 218 PA’s. His playing time has been eclipsed by Eric Thames who is batting a solid .267/.378/.528 with 13 home runs, and a 132 OPS+ in 233 plate appearances. While the jury could still be out with Aguilar, as he did have a solid 2017, Mancini could bring in a very good bat to bolster the line-up if Aguilar doesn’t bounceback. However, the only problem may be the Brewers really lack an elite prospect they’d be willing to give up. Middle infielder Keston Hirua likely isn’t available in any trade talks unless it’s for a top tier prospect with more control than Mancini. However 2018 first round pick Brice Turang is doing solid in single-A, and could be an interesting future piece. Currently, the Brewers could afford to trade Turang since they do have Maurico Dubon lined up as the future shortstop in the near term. So maybe the Brewers could work out a deal involving Turang, a young pitcher like Freddy Peralta, Corbin Burnes, or Adrian Houser, and another piece the Brewers would be willing to throw in.
- Washington Nationals:
The Nationals are currently stuck with veteran Ryan Zimmerman at first base. While the former all-star can perform when healthy, he isn’t usually healthy. This season, he has played just 27 games. Plus his contract is immovable and only lasts through 2020. While Matt Adams is doing pretty well, the team doesn’t have a long term solution at first base. They do have the prospects. Carter Kieboom or Luis Garcia could be included into a package to acquire Mancini. But it’s really going to depend on how the Nats see themselves. Personally, they should be sellers, but their rotation is one of the best in the MLB, and still have some decent offensive pieces to build around.
- Tampa Bay Rays:
Now this depends on how faithful the Rays are in Nate Lowe. However right now, the current 1B for the Rays is Ji-Man Choi. Similarly to Yuli Gurriel, Choi isn’t doing horrible this year. In 279 plate appearances, Choi is batting .266/.351/.423 with a 106 OPS+. Nate Lowe, while he is crushing the ball in AAA, has done so-so in the MLB. But the lefty slugger is only 23. Regardless, the Rays could make a big push for a larger, more proven bat for the team, but their focus this deadline might be pitching more than offense.