Baltimore Orioles fans should begin preparing themselves for even more disappointment after The Athletic’s Dan Connolly reported on Thursday that general manager Mike Elias “will be dealing away” first baseman and designated hitter Trey Mancini “within the next two weeks, and certainly by the end of July.”
Such a move is normally the status quo for an Orioles team that functions like a small-market club — and currently has the lowest payroll in all of baseball at $30.36 million. That’s 9.1 times smaller than the Los Angeles Dodgers’ MLB-leading payroll of $273 million.
It’s all you need to really know when delving into why the Orioles have been as bad as they’ve been for the last four years. During that span, they’ve finished dead-last in the American League East three times with an overall record of 253-455 — a measly .357 win percentage.
For a small club performing under needlessly strict financial parameters, the writing has been on the wall for Mancini’s future in Baltimore after the organization did not approach him about a potential contract extension. The 30-year-old will be a free agent following this season, and teams are understandably beginning to circle.
Per Connolly, three potential suitors are out west in the San Francisco Giants, — who need to cushion the loss of Kris Bryant with another power bat — the Colorado Rockies, and Los Angeles Angels.
Losing a productive player will be difficult enough for the Orioles to contend with. After all, Mancini is one of the best players on an irrelevant team within a loaded AL East division that looks like a four-horse race between the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox.
For more MLB news, rumors, and odds like this Trey Mancini article, visit TailgateSports.com
But what will hurt even more is what Mancini went through while with the organization — and how the Baltimore community rallied around him.
After coming off a career 2019 season in which he slashed .291/.364/.535 (.899 OPS) with 35 home runs and 97 RBI, he missed the entire 2020 season after battling and beating cancer. He returned in 2021 to play 147 games, batting .255 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI — irrelevant numbers compared to the health and safety of the slugger.
Now, the only question that remains is whether or not Mancini will be on the Orioles’ Opening Day roster, which Elias didn’t provide much clarity on. But the search for a trade certainly appears to be on.
“We are, as we always do, having ongoing — whether light or heavy — trade conversations about players on our roster. It’s not exclusive to the Orioles, by any stretch,” Elias said (h/t Connolly). “And that continues. But given that we’re into the arbitration hearing window or process, again, I don’t want to sprinkle out any info about trade discussions or things like that.”