Trey Mancini once noted it’s common for Notre Dame products such as himself to make their way from one Chicago neighborhood to another. He seems to be heading to Wrigleyville.
The longtime Orioles first baseman and outfielder has agreed to a two-year deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to multiple reports. His deal, pending a physical, will include a player opt-out after the first year.
Mancini was the longest-tenured member of the Orioles’ roster when he was traded to the Houston Astros on Aug. 1 for two minor league pitchers. With Houston, Mancini won the World Series but struggled mightily. After hitting .270 with a .797 in parts of six seasons with Baltimore — missing the 2020 campaign to undergo treatment for colon cancer — Mancini hit .176 with a .622 OPS for the Astros. He turns 31 in March.
Houston declined its side of the $10 million mutual option in the contract Mancini originally signed with the Orioles before the 2022 season, which was long expected to be his last in Baltimore. He was the last player in the organization who appeared for the 2016 club that reached the postseason, but after he finished third in American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2017, much of Mancini’s Orioles tenure came amid a rebuild. He narrowly missed an All-Star selection in 2019, settling for Most Valuable Oriole honors.
He returned from his cancer battle as one of baseball’s best stories in 2021 and was named the AL’s Comeback Player of the Year by both the league and his peers. He finished as the runner-up in that year’s All-Star Home Run Derby, viewing the event as an opportunity to showcase what’s possible after a cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy treatment.
The attention directed toward Mancini in 2022 was centered more on baseball, with his status as a pending free agent leading to trade speculation. On the day before the trade deadline, the Orioles — despite being .500 and in the thick of the wild-card race — sent Mancini to Houston in a three-team deal that also included the Tampa Bay Rays, netting right-handed pitching prospects Seth Johnson and Chayce McDermott.
“To be a part of things changing for the better this year, and see the organization go in a way that I’ve been waiting for it to for a long time, has been incredible,” Mancini said the day he was traded. “I always said I wanted to see the rebuild through, and I feel like, in a lot of ways, I have. I think things are only gonna get better here. And besides when I’m playing against them, I’m always going to be rooting for these guys in here.”
He quickly got that chance, with the Orioles visiting Houston later that month before Mancini and the Astros came to Baltimore in September. The Orioles play the Cubs at Wrigley Field in a three-game series June 16-18.
Despite his popularity in Baltimore, Mancini was not a free-agent fit for the Orioles. At first base, the club has Ryan Mountcastle, who split time there with Mancini the previous two seasons. Baltimore also sought flexibility with its designated hitter spot, while its offensive pursuits this offseason have largely been left-handed hitters. No hitter was perhaps impacted more by Camden Yards’ new dimensions than Mancini, who lost six home runs to the ballpark’s new left field wall.
ESPN first reported the agreement.