One of the more notable names left on the board in MLB free agency heading into the weekend was 1B/DH Trey Mancini. Mancini is now off the market, as the former Astro is reportedly headed to the Chicago Cubs on a two-year deal. Chicago already added one first baseman to its 2023 roster in Eric Hosmer. Now, the Cubs grab a second one that has good power and should be an upgrade from what Chicago received at first last season.
A Look at Mancini
New Cubs first baseman Trey Mancini heads back to the Midwest, where the 30-year-old starred in college with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Mancini made his MLB debut in 2016, but saw his first regular role in the Majors in 2017. With the Orioles in 2017, Mancini batted .293/.338/.488 with 24 home runs. A career 113 OPS+ hitter, Mancini has recorded four 20+ home run seasons, with a career high of 35 set in 2019. The former Oriole and Astro also possesses an above-average career Hard Hit% rate of 41.9%.
Last season with Baltimore and Houston, Mancini hit just . 239 with 18 home runs — a career-low for the 30-year-old — and 63 RBIs. The 2022 World Series champion also recorded a career-low in Barrel% (9.8%), a figure that was still above MLB average, but below his norms. Part of that can be attributed to an inflated pop-up rate (6.2%). Mancini’s K% rate, for what’s worth, stayed at his career average of 23%.
The new Cub struggled with Houston, but still hit eight home runs and 15 extra base hits in 59 games. Armed with good power, Mancini will look at add some consistency to a Cubs lineup that has a fair amount of potential heading into 2023.
What it Means
The deal between Mancini and the Cubs comes with an opt-out clause after the 2023 season. It’s a low risk move for the Cubs, as it gives Chicago a solid bat that should fit just fine in a 1B/DH role. Mancini could very well platoon at first alongside new Cubs first baseman Eric Hosmer. This past Saturday, Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer told fans at Cubs Convention that Hosmer would be a regular against left-handed pitching, thus opening up some possibility of another infielder splitting time at the position.
Mancini, though, has proven to be quite effective against both left-handed and right-handed hitters. Here’s a look at the new Cub’s splits in his career:
- LHP: .266/.331/.459, 40 HR in 992 PA
- RHP: .265/.330/.456, 85 HR in 2,127 PA
With Mancini in tow, here’s a look at what the Cubs lineup could look like come 2023:
- RF Seiya Suzuki
- SS Dansby Swanson
- LF Ian Happ
- 1B Eric Hosmer/Trey Mancini
- 2B Nico Hoerner
- 3B Patrick Wisdom
- CF Cody Bellinger
- C Tucker Barnhart
- DH Christopher Morel
Chicago’s lineup might not have the power that Milwaukee or St. Louis can boast, but there’s still plenty of intrigue. For one, Chicago did beef up its middle field and first base positions, the latter of which was a problem for the Cubs last season. The Cubs lineup also possesses a number of wild cards in Cody Bellinger, Patrick Wisdom, and Christopher Morel. All three have shown plenty of pop at the MLB level, but all three have weaknesses at the dish. Wisdom and Morel, in particular, were among the worst last season in swings and misses.
The additions of Hosmer and Mancini give the Cubs depth at a position that didn’t produce much for Chicago last season. It’s tough to say that Chicago’s lineup — a group that will be sans new Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras — will be much improved from last season, but the Cubs did at least address areas of weaknesses from 2022.