CHICAGO – When Chicago Cubs manager David Ross spoke to Trey Mancini about joining the team, the skipper mentioned playing at first base, the designated hitter, and field corner points.
For Mancini, acting was a key idea.
“I told him, ‘I don’t care where I play at all. I like to play. Wherever you want me, I am there,” Mancini said.
The addition of Mancini, who ended a two-year deal on Friday that could be worth up to $21 million, is part of a string of moves to Chicago after going 74-88 last season. short stop Dansby Swansonright-handed Jameson Tylonoutfielder Cody Bellingerfirst baseman Eric Hosmerpitcher Brad Boxberger and catcher Tucker Barnhart also signed with the team as a free agent.
Mancini was on the Italy squad for the World Baseball Classic, but he said he chose to stay at Cubs camp to spend time with his new teammates.
Hosmer completed his deal with Chicago on January 13. Hosmer bats on the left side and Mancini is a right-handed hitter, and there is also a DH role. Or Mancini could write Jan Happ or Seiya Suzuki in the far field.
“It will be my role to move around,” Mancini said. “Probably it will depend on who will play for the other team.”
Mancini, who turns 31 in March, helped Houston win the 2022 World Series after arriving Aug. 1 from Baltimore in a three-team trade including Tampa Bay. He hit .239 with 18 homers and 63 RBIs in 143 games overall.
Since the trade, Mancini hit just .176 with eight homers, 22 RBIs and a .622 OPS to become a part-time Houston player in October. He finished 1 for 21 with eight strikeouts in his first playoff.
But he was forced to work in Game 5 of the World Series when the Golden Gloves were playing from first base. Julius Gurriel sprained his right knee, and Mancini, who took the field for the first time in a month, put on a terrific defensive performance that helped the Astros hold on to a 3-2 win.
“You know you have to get through these difficult times, and even when you don’t feel right, you’re playing for something much bigger than yourself,” Mancini said. “And that’s something I knew before, but especially when you go through it, it’s hard.
“But you must stay the course, because your number will be called when you least expect it.”
Mancini is a .265 career hitter, 125 homers and .787 in 752 games. He finished third in the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year vote for Baltimore, then hit .291 with 35 homers, 97 RBIs and a .899 OPS in 2019.
He sat out the 2020 season after being diagnosed with colon cancer and then won the 2021 AL Comeback Player of the Year award by hitting .255 with 21 homers in 147 games for the Orioles.
“It puts a lot of things into perspective,” Mancini said of his cancer diagnosis. “I would not say that I have changed a lot as a player. I still have the same intensity. I still really want to succeed, contribute and have a huge impact on the team. But it makes you realize what the real problem is and what the baseball problem is.”
Although Mancini returned in 2021, he said he did not feel well physically until the start of last season.
“That’s when I really felt like I was completely back to where I had precancer,” he said. “Honestly, it was mostly leg strength, that was the last thing that came back.”
MINNEAPOLIS. On Monday night, the Minnesota Twins acquired veteran Michael A. Taylor from the Kansas City Royals, adding depth and defense to their field in exchange for two prospective pitchers.
Taylor, 31, hit .254 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs in 414 games last season with the Royals, his second year with the club after spending his first seven major league seasons with the Washington Nationals. “.
The twins sent 23-year-old right-hander Steven Cruz and 25-year-old left-hander Evan Sisk into the royal family.
Taylor’s best offensive season came in 2017 with the Nationals when he hit .271 with 19 homers, 53 RBIs and an .806 OPS in 118 games. However, its greatest value is in the herb. Taylor was the Golden Glove winner in his debut for the Royals in 2021 and gives the Twins the third outfielder on their roster to win the award by joining Byron Buxton (2017) and newcomer Joey Gallo (2020 and 2021).
Taylor is a natural center fielder who will give the Twins a solid backup plan behind Buxton, whose injuries have kept him from playing more than 92 games in a season, aside from once in eight years in the big leagues.
Gallo can play in all three outfields, having played most of his 2022 experience in left field, where Trevor Larnach will also be in the mix. Gallo received the Golden Glove award as a right fielder. Max Kepler, another strong defenseman, has been a regular right fielder for the past seven seasons. With a recent departure via AL batting champion exchange Luis Arraes, Alex Kirilloff is in line to take the lead at first base with Gallo also likely in the mix.
The Twins started the new year aggressively, as evidenced by the unexpected re-signing of the shortstop. Carlos Correa after deals fell through for him with two other teams. They sent Arraez to Miami as a starting pitcher. Pablo Lopez.
The middle initial “A” in Taylor’s name stands for Anthony. A native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who was selected by the National Championship in the sixth round of the draft in 2009, added an initial to his name to distinguish him from another. Michael Taylor who played outfield in the big leagues from 2011 to 2014.
Cruz, a 6’6 native of the Dominican Republic, went 1-4 with a 5.14 ERA, 35 walks and 72 strikeouts in 56 innings last season for Double-A Wichita. In 120 career minor league games, Cruz hit 259 strikeouts in 192 1/3 innings.
Sisk, who was originally drafted by St. Louis in the 16th round in 2018 from the College of Charleston, was split between Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul last season. He went 5-1 with a 1.57 ERA, 29 walks and 76 strikeouts in 63 innings between teams. Sisk was acquired by the Twins in a 2021 deal that sent starting pitcher J.A. Hupp to the Cardinals.