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Orioles trade oldest player Trey Mancini to Houston Astros – The Denver Post

The rebuilding Orioles faced their toughest move yet on Monday, with Baltimore trading Trey Mancini, the lone remnant on the roster from its last playoff run and a player who’s endeared himself to the base. fans with his personality and his perseverance in the face of cancer, at the Houston Astros, sources familiar with the deal confirmed to the Baltimore Sun.

The return is not yet known. The deal comes a day before the Major League trade deadline and with the Orioles just three games shy of a wildcard spot, starting a three-game series against the Texas Rangers at 51-51 after a 16-9 July that featured a 10 game winning streak. Mancini was on the court before Monday’s series opener, giving Orioles teammates and staff hugs.

Mancini made his major league debut at the end of the 2016 season and was in the final guaranteed year of his contract with the team, having agreed to a deal with a mutual option for the 2023 season while training for spring to avoid arbitration. But he always said he didn’t expect the two sides to choose the option, likely leaving his status as a trade candidate unchanged.

In what turned out to be his last home game at Camden Yards on Thursday, Mancini hit an inside-the-park home run on his final at-bat, Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Josh Lowe losing the ball in the sun and allowing Mancini to go all the way around the bases to precede a long standing ovation.

“Hopefully I can stay and still be part of this team,” Mancini said afterwards. “But I understand how the business works and I don’t really have a say. I’m just going to go there every day and keep playing for this team and the name on my chest because I love the city and the team and all these guys here. It’s just been such a fun year.

This summer marked Mancini’s third in Baltimore in the face of trade rumours, having remained with the Orioles (51-51) beyond the 2019 and 2021 deadlines. He missed the 2020 season while undergoing treatment for stage 3 colon cancer.

After a 35-home run campaign in 2019, Mancini arrived in spring training hoping to build on it, but routinely felt sluggish during the exhibition period. A routine blood test revealed lower iron levels, and further tests discovered a tumor in his colon. Mancini underwent surgery to remove it the same day the coronavirus pandemic canceled the rest of spring training.

When baseball resumed in July, it did so without Mancini, who underwent 12 rounds of chemotherapy treatments every two weeks that caused his weight to fluctuate. He returned in 2021 as the greatest story in the sport and a source of joy and inspiration for an Orioles team that finished with the worst record in the American League, recognized by both his peers and the league as the player back from game of the year.

Over the year, he constantly fielded questions and spoke publicly about his medical experience, hoping to raise awareness even as his struggles to be the player he was before weighed on him. He was largely a productive player, finishing second in the Home Run Derby in an experiment he hoped would show viewers what could be achieved after a cancer diagnosis.

With a home run on the first anniversary of the death of Mo Gaba – a teenage superfan whose positivity during his lifelong battle with cancer inspired the way Mancini tried to approach the disease – Mancini had 19 for the year and an .827 OPS like last year. deadline was approaching. But two quiet months ended his season, the emotional and physical weight of what he endured catching up with him.

During the offseason, Mancini gave himself the space to process the experience and improved his mindset in the 2022 season, which from the start seemed to be his last in Baltimore. After the Orioles were unable to agree with Mancini on a 2022 deal, the sides swapped salary figures, with Mancini’s new contract ultimately rendering them moot. The $10 million the option in the contract came with a $250,000 buyout, bringing the guaranteed contract amount closer to the figure Mancini was asking for than the team’s. But the Astros will pay that buyout if they or Mancini don’t choose the option.

The future-focused move costs an Orioles team battling for a playoff berth in the present its longest-serving player, one who has reached the top four spots in manager Brandon Hyde’s roster in all of his starts. except one this year. Mancini is hitting .268 with a .751 OPS and 10 home runs, though he likely would have more without the introduction of Camden Yards’ deeper and taller left-field wall. Mancini hit seven fewer home runs than would be expected based on his contact quality, according to Baseball Savant, by far the majors’ biggest deficit.

With Houston, Mancini will no longer play home games at a park designed to homer away from hitters like him. He could also have his first extended opportunity to play his natural first base position.

Mancini arrived in Baltimore at a time when sluggers Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo were manning first base and designating batting spots, forcing him to learn the outside corner largely on the fly. When he returned in 2021, he only played first base in the field, but spent much of the latter part of the season as Baltimore’s DH.

With Mancini out, outfielder Anthony Santander, another trade candidate, is the Oriole with the most major league experience in Baltimore. Left-handed pitcher John Means, recruited in 2014, is the player with the most time in the organization.

Athletic first reported the swap deal.

Baltimore Sun reporter Andy Kostka contributed to this report. This story will be updated.

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