The Padres should trade for Orioles star Trey Mancini
Major League Baseball has been unlocked for two weeks now, and throughout the free agency melee, the San Diego Padres have shown that they do not plan to be big spenders.
Much to the chagrin of their fans, who just watched the Los Angeles Dodgers sign Freddie Freeman.
But the Padres went over the Competitive Balance Threshold (CTB/luxury tax) last season, and seem determined to reset this year. The $20M increase to the threshold, from $210M to $230M, helped put the payroll back under, but only by approximately $8.1M.
So, they have a little wiggle room, and will have even more if they can trade away some of their bigger contracts, like Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers, whom they have been aggressively shopping for a while now.
They also have a trade target who fits into their budget regardless of those big salaries: Trey Mancini.
Mancini made $4.75M in 2021 and filed for $8M in his final year of arbitration eligibility. The Orioles countered at $7.375M because apparently, their $30M payroll – the lowest in the league – is just too darn high.
San Francisco Giants player Joc Pederson called them out earlier this week:
According to GM Mike Elias, the Orioles have not had discussions with Mancini about a contract extension, either. In other words, he is as good as gone. It’s just a matter of when and where.
Baseball is a business; nothing makes that clearer than the Orioles, with their minuscule payroll, trying to lowball the beloved Mancini, who was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer during Spring Training 2020, and missed the year while undergoing treatment. He returned in 2021 to standing ovations by fans of all teams; it was impossible to root against him.
Mancini went from chemotherapy in 2020 to playing the second-most games of anyone on the Orioles roster, hitting 21 home runs, and finishing second in the Home Run Derby during All-Star week. To the surprise of no one, he won the American League Comeback Player of the Year, which had been his from the second he stepped up to the plate for his first game back.
This is the man the Orioles do not want to pay an extra $625K. So much so that the two sides will go to an arbitration hearing, at which the Orioles’ side will tell a room full of people why their cancer-surviving, fan-favorite homegrown player does not deserve the full raise he desires.
Baseball is a business. How you conduct your business tells the world who you are.
Mancini made a brief debut in 2016 and save for 2020, he has played 147+ games in every season of his career since. In 2019, he hit 35 home runs and 38 doubles, scored 106 times, and drove in 97 more. He’d make a great DH/1B for any NL team, and the Padres should absolutely be in the race to rescue him from Birdland. The Angels have reportedly checked in on Mancini already, and there are also landing spots for him in Colorado and San Francisco.
Mancini’s story is so much bigger than baseball, but unfortunately for Orioles fans, business appears to be bigger than baseball for their front office. Their loss should be San Diego’s gain.