St. Louis Cardinals: Why Trey Mancini would be a great fit

The St. Louis Cardinals need power and there is an outfielder on the Orioles who could help. Trey Mancini is a great fit if he is available.

Since the cat is out of the bag, we can just say it. The St. Louis Cardinals need offense and they need it bad.

Despite hope from fans that the team would fire Jeff Albert, that simply isn’t going to happen after a sample of just a season and a half. It comes down to the pure talent on the roster much more than just what a hitting coach can do.

This winter, I hope the Cardinals look more closely at one player that I have followed and wanted the team to acquire for quite some time. Enter Trey Mancini.

Near the trade deadline in 2019, I wrote on Mancini as a great option to trade for and that has only become more true. However, Mancini had a year that no baseball fan wants to see a player have. Back on March 2, Mancini was pulled from a Grapefruit League game because he wasn’t feeling well. On the 7th, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde announced Mancini would ‘miss some time,‘ and it soon came out that Mancini had colon cancer.

There was a great outpouring of support for Mancini as one of the league’s quietly emerging stars. News slowly trickled out about Mancini going through surgery and chemotherapy over the summer before finally, he finally got back in the cage early in November.

It is amazing to see Mancini back and by everything he has said, he will be good to go by spring training in the spring of 2021.

This great story only adds to what Mancini can bring when he is on the field.

In 2019, Mancini had his best season yet. In 154 games, Mancini had a slash line of .291/.364/.535 with 35 homers and 97 RBI. This was good for a 132 wRC+ in an otherwise putrid Orioles offense.

Mancini wasn’t getting lucky in 2019. Immediately, he could come in and bat cleanup as perfect protection for Paul Goldschmidt. In the field, Mancini really isn’t good, but with the DH being likely for 2021 and beyond, Mancini’s defense can be hidden.

The Cardinals will be trying to cut payroll all winter, but it is someone like Mancini who is a perfect fit for the team if they are willing to get creative. Mancini is entering his second year of arbitration and is currently projected for a salary of just under $5M. For a player who is very capable of producing more than 30 homers, 100 RBI, and a .900 OPS, that is a steal. 

Given his salary, age (28), and offensive firepower, Mancini won’t be cheap. Thankfully for the Cardinals, the Orioles are still in a perpetual rebuild and will surely be cutting salary. The Cardinals are still flush with young pitching that could be of interest, but it won’t take a small package to bring Mancini to St. Louis.

I have maintained this winter that the Cardinals shouldn’t be focused on any trades for players who won’t be here for at least 2022 and free agents that will cost more than $5M if only for 2021. With Mancini, the team would get another middle of the order bat that would be here for a couple of years.

The biggest thing that I could see being an issue in a potential trade would be an unwillingness of the Orioles to trade Mancini. They have a young core and Mancini and the Orioles have worked to raise over $80k for colon cancer research together. After going through what he has with the team, it almost seems odd to turn around and trade him.

There would be a risk in acquiring Mancini, as he hasn’t seen the field in a year and there could be a period where he is still getting up to speed. However, he has a fantastic attitude about his entire situation and in every interview I could find from him, he sounds like an amazing presence in the clubhouse.

I am sharing so much about Mancini’s story off the field because I truly believe that Mancini deserves more attention and a bigger spotlight. This is just as much about sharing Mancini’s story as it is about writing about a trade candidate. I have no clue how likely a trade could be, but given where he is in arbitration and his impending free agency, I think his value is not going to get higher than it is right now.

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In the scenario where Mancini doesn’t end up in a Cardinals uniform, you can still be a fan of his. He has overcome a ton and, by all accounts, will return to form in 2020 and beyond. If I were the Cardinals, Mancini would be the perfect under-the-radar name to go after.