Shrewd, but bittersweet: Orioles trade Trey Mancini to Astros

Trey Mancini #16 of the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Trey Mancini #16 of the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Trey Mancini is no longer a member of the Baltimore Orioles.

After months of speculation, the man regarded as the face of the franchise since 2019 was traded to the Houston Astros as part of a three team trade with the Orioles receiving right handed pitcher Chayce McDermott (Org. Rank #12 according to from Houston and right handed pitcher Seth Johnson (Org. Rank #6) from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Drafted in the 4th compensatory round a year ago, the 23-year-old McDermott has been used as both a starter and reliever for Houston’s Hi-A affiliate. A 5.50 ERA and 5.38 walks per nine innings in Asheville do little to inspire, but McDermott boasts a tremendous strikeout rate; his 114 strikeouts in 72 innings are third most in the South Atlantic League and good for a 14.25 K/9, making him an enthralling project for Orioles Director of Player Development Matt Blood and the rest of the player development team.

Seth Johnson is yet another electric arm coming from a Tampa Bay farm system that FanGraphs ranks second in Major League Baseball. The 23-year-old has a career 2.81 ERA and 172 strikeouts through 137.2 minor league innings. Unfortunately, Johnson is soon undergoing Tommy John surgery and will be out of action until 2023 at the earliest.

The Orioles have traded Trey Mancini to the Houston Astros

Sentiment aside, the Orioles have done shrewd business; to receive a high-ceiling pitcher from a Houston system that ranks near the bottom of the league and, while injured, a top-10 prospect from a perpetually deep Rays system is a success. It’s nigh impossible to detach sentiment from this transaction for Orioles fans, however.

Trey Mancini debuted as a September call up in 2016 and wasted no time making his presence felt, hitting his first career home run in his second at-bat and hit three homers in 14 at-bats to help the Orioles clinch the second American League Wild Card spot.

While not featuring on the postseason roster during that fateful night in Toronto, Mancini was the last remaining connection point to the 2012-16 Orioles group that represents the last competitive window Baltimore has seen, a reminder of what was when the city and the fanbase galvanize around the game of baseball.

During a period of unmitigated darkness for the Orioles, Mancini was a constant shining light and one of the batters fans could count on for having competitive at-bats. He has always been beacon of positive energy both in the clubhouse and out. His philanthropic work will leave a permanent imprint on the Baltimore area. Mancini’s relationship with O’s Hall of Famer Mo Gaba was yet another testament to the character of a player who typifies human decency. Mancini is of the ilk of past Orioles like Elrod Hendricks, Adam Jones, and Cal Ripken, Sr, all leaving indelible marks on Orioles culture.

The entire Orioles community rallied behind Mancini after he was diagnosed with colon cancer during Spring Training of 2020 and welcomed him back with a hero’s welcome when he made his inevitable return last April. Birdland tried with all of their might to will him to victory in the 2021 Home Run Derby. Fans in Camden Yards erupted in euphoric cheers last Thursday when his final at-bat played out in storybook fashion:

The utopian scenario for a vast majority of Orioles fans included a World Series winning team of which Trey Mancini was a key member, but it was not meant to be. The Orioles recent resurgence and increased playoff odds will surely make the trade sting even more, but Birdland can take solace in a good return considering the circumstances (it was unlikely Mancini would return in 2023) and in the fact that he now has a legitimate chance to win a World Series this season. And that he’s probably excited to get away from the left field wall.

Cheers and good luck, Trey Mancini.

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