SARASOTA, Fla. — Trey Mancini said he believes his new deal with the Orioles does little to change the possibility he’s playing what could be his final year with Baltimore.
Mancini, 30, signed a one-year, $7.5 million contract on Saturday with a mutual option for 2023 worth $10 million. The option includes a $250,000 buyout, making Mancini’s guarantee of $7.75 million closer to the value he filed at in arbitration (reportedly $8 million) than the Orioles’ ($7.375 million).
“I don’t think it changes my situation very much, if I’m being honest,” Mancini said Monday morning. “Just with the way that mutual options have worked in the past, if I’m speaking honestly, there’s not too many scenarios, I feel like, where both sides take it. It’s usually one way or the other.”
The format means that if the Orioles trade Mancini during the upcoming season, another team would be responsible for the buyout. Mancini has long been aware of his status as a trade candidate. Sunday’s deal to send relievers Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser to the Miami Marlins reaffirmed the Orioles’ state.
“I’ve seen a lot of my teammates get traded over the years, especially starting in 2018 with the selloff then, so I know how it goes and that at any second, anybody could be dealt,” Mancini said. “It’s a business.”
Mancini said his new contract came in “a roundabout way.” Under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias, the Orioles have employed a “file-to-go” method, where negotiations end after salaries are exchanged and both sides prepare for a trial. Elias said an exception was made in this case because it meant the agreement wasn’t a straight one-year deal; he declined to say whether the Orioles are discussing a multiyear contract with season-opening starter John Means, their last remaining arbitration-eligible player without a contract figure.
Salaries are typically exchanged during the offseason, with arbitration hearings held during spring training, but because of Major League Baseball’s 99-day lockout, hearings will be during the season. Mancini said he was thankful to have removed that from his calendar.
“With the hearings being TBD this year, I don’t think that necessarily influenced my decision to take it or not, but we thought that it was a good number and preferable to not drag it into the season, so it is nice,” Mancini said. “As much as I wasn’t going to let it be a distraction, I think like once a date is set and you’re gonna go to a case, you never know how you’re gonna feel kind of leading up to it, so it is nice to have it done.”
Rutschman ruled out for season opener
As other organizations declare their top prospects will make their season-opening rosters, the Orioles have officially ruled out theirs.
The right tricep strain that catcher Adley Rutschman suffered on the cusp of major league camp will keep him off the roster for both the Orioles’ season opener Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays and Triple-A Norfolk’s first game Tuesday, Elias said Monday.
Ranked by Baseball America as the sport’s top prospect, Rutschman, 24, was expected to spend camp competing to be Baltimore’s starting catcher. But since manager Brandon Hyde said the first week of camp that Rutschman would be shut down for 2-3 weeks, Elias’ announcement was an awaited formality.
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“I don’t think he’ll be ready for either Opening Day, but it’s going smoothly and fingers crossed,” Elias said. “I think he’ll be out and playing in a matter of weeks. He missed spring training, so we’ve got that to worry about, but I think it’s going well, and I think he’ll be playing real baseball games in April.”
Elias was unsure whether Rutschman would report immediately to Triple-A or begin with games at a lower affiliate. As of Sunday, he had progressed to light throwing and hitting off a tee, Hyde said.
A baby bird connection
Austin Hays’ newborn son is in some ways named after a football player, but he’s got a heck of a baseball name.
Hays rejoined the team Monday after missing the past few days because his wife, Samantha, gave birth to their second son, Hayden, on Friday. Samantha liked the name Hayden after hearing it on former Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst. Hays liked how it sounded paired with their other son, 15-month-old Levi.
“We were like, ‘Oh, wow Hayden Hays, that would be a solid name,’” Hays said. “I just liked how Levi and Hayden went together. Just sounds like the Hays boys are coming.”
Samantha’s due date was Monday, but after Hays got a call about 2:30 Friday morning, he drove 2 ½ hours in the rain to get to Daytona Beach in time to be there when Hayden Hays was born.
“I’m going like 45 [mph], trying not to crash, and they’re like, ‘Hurry up!’” Hays said. “I was like, ‘I can’t hurry up! This is as fast as I could go,’ but it was good.”
Around the horn
- DJ Stewart, who had been out since March 23 with a bruised left hand, returned to the lineup Monday.
- Infielder Jorge Mateo is dealing with stomach soreness, Hyde said. The issue is not believed to be an oblique injury.