After the Cubs signed Eric Hosmer I thought the Trey Mancini pursuit was over, but then last weekend the Cubs agreed to a two-year deal with the right-handed hitter and officially announced the Mancini signing on Friday.
Mancini’s two-year contract includes an opt-out after 2023, something we’ve seen the Cubs add in deals with several other players this offseason such as Drew Smyly, Tucker Barnhart and Cody Bellinger. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Cubs DFA’d left-handed pitcher Anthony Kay, who was acquired off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this offseason back in late December.
As for Kay, the Cubs could get him back if he passes through waivers unclaimed. He was just at the Cubs fan convention and at least he’s having a little fun with the news.
According to Jon Heyman, Mancini’s contract with the Cubs is worth $14 million guaranteed plus some escalators and bonuses in the deal that could earn him an additional $7 million. Bruce Levine also reported that Mancini can opt-out after 2023 if he reaches at least 350 plate appearances this upcoming season.
Other than a relief pitcher, probably a left-handed one, the Mancini signing is most likely the last prominent move of the offseason for the Cubs. The Mancini move also kind of embodies the team’s offseason as a whole. It’s not the most exciting move, but it makes the Cubs better and provides a decent floor at designated hitter, while providing more depth at first base in the corner outfield positions. And hey, I mean, the Cubs needed to do a lot this winter to improve, and although there wasn’t the superstar signing, they pretty much addressed every need that had to get better. They also improved the roster without any back-breaking contracts. Sure, Dansby Swanson signed a seven-year deal, but it’s nothing compared to some of the other monster contracts that were signed.
I’d also say that overall the fanbase would feel better heading into 2023 if the messaging from Jed Hoyer and ownership was more clear. Let’s face it, this was a mini-rebuild and it started when the team traded Yu Darvish after the 2020 season. If the Cubs had just been a little more honest and said they needed to regroup for a couple seasons, then yeah this offseason of adding established veterans, while not blocking any of the upcoming prospects, would paint a rosier picture for fans. But instead the front office half-assed the 2020-21 offseason, set that team up to fail and it failed, which led to the sell-off in the summer and an underwhelming offseason that followed.
I’ll admit, a lot of the vitriol toward the front office and ownership over the years does go back to just not being able to retain any of their previous core players. I promise, I’ll get over it eventually. And well, after a meh 2022 season, this series of moves does have me content. I’m not overly excited because there is still a decent gap between the talent the Cubs have and the top dogs in the National League, but with a third Wild Card spot now a part of the postseason I am fully expecting this team to be playing meaningful games in September.
We talked about Mancini, the Cubs overall offseason and more on this week’s Pinwheels And Ivy Podcast.