Orioles Acquire: Seth Johnson and Chayce McDermott Astros Acquire: Trey Mancini
For the Orioles’ sake, Seth Johnson, Chayce McDermott, and Trey Mancini are the important names in this deal as the Rays were also involved and received Jose Siri from Houston. Of course, trading Mancini was always going to be an unpopular move amongst the Orioles fanbase because of all of the reasons that made him a fan favorite. For the purposes of this article, I will not talk much about his off-the-field storylines as most of that was covered by fellow Birds Watcher writer Josh Linn.
On the field, Mancini was having a solid season for the Orioles with a 114 OPS+ and will benefit from playing in a much easier ballpark for right-handed batters in Houston. He has a mutual option at the end of the season that he will decline in order to test free agency, and now he has a legitimate chance to win a World Series this season. The O’s also add two solid pitching prospects in the deal in Johnson and McDermott who both have had electric stuff and some command issues in Single-A. Johnson is due for Tommy John Surgery soon so he will not pitch for the Orioles farm system until likely 2024.
Despite the surgery, Johnson is the eighth-ranked prospect in the Orioles system as he was a first-round pick by the Rays in 2019 out of Campbell University. He started seven games this season for the High-A Bowling Green Hot Rods where he pitched to a 3.00 ERA in 27 innings pitched with an extremely impressive strikeout rate of 13.7 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched as well as a 3.73 K/BB rate. According to Pipeline, he has a solid fastball and an above-average slider which could allow him to be a part of the rotation in several years and could even be a top rotation piece if his command improves. Outside of the fastball and slider, Johnson’s other pitches have below-average grades and those will need to improve before he makes an impact for the Orioles.
McDermott comes in as the O’s 12th-ranked prospect according to Pipeline with three above-average pitches in his fastball, curveball, and slider. He has struggled with control in his professional career as he has walked more than 5 batters per 9 innings for the High-A Asheville Tourists this season. He also has a 5.50 ERA in 19 games and 72 innings pitched in his first professional season as he was a fourth-round pick out of Ball State last season. The big factor as to whether or not McDermott becomes a mainstay for the Orioles in several years will be whether or not he can harness his command. This trade seems like a successful trade for the Orioles as they add key pitching depth and get rid of an expiring contract which will open up the DH spot for the rest of the season.