Trey Mancini was released by the Chicago Cubs August 2, and signed a minor-league contract with Cincinnati this week. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
First baseman and designated hitter Trey Mancini has signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds.
He has been added to the roster of their Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats. The Chicago Cubs released Mancini on August 2.
Mancini went 3-for-4 with three RBI in his debut with Triple-A Louisville on Thursday. He sent the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for a solo home run in the first inning. The Louisville Bats defeated the Toledo Mud Hens 6-5.
After signing a two-year contract worth $14 million with the Cubs in the offseason, Mancini struggled to find momentum at the plate in the Windy City. Mancini recorded a .234 batting average with four home runs, 28 RBI, 55 hits, and a .635 OPS in 263 plate appearances with the Cubs. The 31-year-old has a career .775 OPS.
Mancini spent the first six years of his MLB career with the Baltimore Orioles, making his debut in 2016. Baltimore began a complete rebuild after a disappointing fifth-place finish in 2017, but Mancini emerged as the most consistent player on the roster. His best statistical season with the Orioles was in 2019, hitting .291 with 35 home runs, 97 RBI, a .535 slugging percentage, and a 135 OPS+, indicating he was 35 percent better than the league average MLB hitter.
Mancini’s career came to an unfortunate halt in March 2020 when he was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. He subsequently missed the entire COVID-19 Pandemic-shortened season to receive treatment. Mancini completed chemotherapy and announced he was cancer-free in November of 2020. He received a standing ovation from the crowd before his first at-bat in spring training in 2021.
Mancini was traded to the Houston Astros at the deadline in 2022 and played in the postseason for the first time in his career. He hit .171 with eight home runs in 51 games for the eventual champions. Mancini was unable to find success at the plate in the 2022 postseason, recording just one hit in 24 plate appearances. Despite his struggles, the Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in six games in the World Series, making Mancini a world champion just two years after being diagnosed with cancer.
Now with the Cincinnati Reds, Mancini will have to prove he has what it takes to be penciled into the everyday big league lineup. He has stiff competition at first base, as both rookies Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand have provided power and league-average defense. One of the three should see an increase in playing time at first base due to Joey Votto being placed on the 10-day IL with left shoulder discomfort.
If the Reds clinch a playoff berth, Mancini would be eligible to play because he joined the organization before September 1. He may not be having a career year with the bat, but he can provide veteran leadership for a relatively young team.
The Cincinnati Reds (67-61) will play the second game of a four-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks (66-61) on Friday, August 24 at 9:40 p.m. EDT. The Reds were 3.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the National League Central on Thursday night and held a half-game lead over the D-Backs for the third NL Wild Card spot.