An obvious need for the Boston Red Sox ahead of the trade deadline is improved first base depth, be that as a full-time starter or capable platoon player. On paper, Trey Mancini makes a lot of sense.
And wouldn’t you know it, the miles-out-of-the-playoff-picture Baltimore Orioles are getting calls on the first baseman/outfielder, and they are listening.
“Teams are interested, and the Orioles will listen because Mancini is a free agent after 2022,” The Athletic’s Dan Connolly wrote Tuesday. “But the sense is Mancini, 29, will not be moved this July.”
Connolly added that there have been no substantive contract talks between the O’s and Mancini. But if the Orioles get enough good offers on Mancini that they decide they’ll move him, could the Red Sox be a potential landing spot?
Mancini truly is a perfect fit for what the Red Sox are trying to accomplish. He could be an everyday first baseman, which would allow Boston to use Bobby Dalbec, Michael Chavis and Franchy Cordero more selectively and play the matchups with them more often. It also helps that they could put Mancini in the outfield to keep his bat in the lineup when needed.
Chaim Bloom loves uber-versatile players. And while Mancini isn’t exactly Kiké Hernández, he would offer the Red Sox plenty of options.
The 29-year-old is a steady offensive player, hitting .266 this season while also maintaining the ability to hit for power. Mancini, a Home Run Derby participant earlier this month, has 18 home runs and a 122 OPS+ through 95 games. With the 2-5 roles in the lineup pretty much locked in, he could add either provide more power to the bottom of the order or slot in at sixth and let Hunter Renfroe add the pop to the seven-hole.
The Orioles theoretically might be reticent to move Mancini within the division, but it would not be unprecedented like a Boston-New York transaction would. The Red Sox and Orioles have done in-season business before, such as the Andrew Miller trade in 2014 that brought Eduardo Rodriguez to Boston, and the Andrew Cashner trade in 2019.
That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t shy away from trading a man who basically is a franchise icon to a division rival. But if the Red Sox can offer the best package and the Orioles are amenable to making a deal, then Mancini makes all the sense in the world for Boston.