The Cincinnati Reds have signed Trey Mancini to a minor league contract, first reported by Mark Sheldon of Cincinnati has assigned the first baseman/outfielder to Triple-A Louisville.

Mancini signed with the Chicago Cubs on a 2-year deal prior to the season, but things just didn’t turn out the way that either side had hoped for. In 79 games, Mancini hit just .234/.299/.336 with four home runs, 21 walks, and 78 strikeouts in 263 plate appearances.

With things not working out, the Cubs designated him for assignment and after he cleared waivers the club gave him his release on August 2nd. He remained a few agent for about three weeks before signing with Cincinnati.

When looking at his numbers in 2023 it’s had to find somewhere that he found success. Looking at his splits, he had a .620 OPS against right-handed pitching. When facing left-handed pitchers his OPS was .657. He was ok while hitting at Wrigley, posting a .262/.333/.389 line in 42 games. On the road he hit just .202/.258/.275. There’s probably not a whole lot to that other than randomness (and a 90 point difference on his batting average on balls in play).

Looking at Baseball Reference’s breakdown of how he hit in 2023 against power pitchers and finesse pitchers is pretty telling – granted the sample size is small. Against power pitchers he hit just .188 and slugged just .234. Against finesse pitchers he hit .258 and slugged .438. That’s a huge difference and makes you wonder if perhaps his bat hasn’t slowed down just enough that he is now struggling to hit velocity but still has a good enough eye to handle average velocity and secondary stuff.

When looking at his numbers against specific pitches he didn’t seem to hit anything particularly well according to the breakdown at Brooks Baseball. He hit .232 and slugged .362 against 4-seamers. He hit .250 and slugged .292 against sinkers. He did his best work against the change up, hitting .250 and slugging .464 against them. Mancini saw more sliders this year than any pitch and he had his best average against them than anything – hitting .259, but he also slugged just .352 against them. Curveballs were a big struggle for him as he hit just .133 against them and slugged just .200.

It seems that almost everyone who has come through Louisville this season for the Reds has found something at the plate. Maybe there’s still something for Trey Mancini to tap into that the Bats coaching staff can figure out in a short period of time before the season comes to an end.

42 Responses

  1. Optimist

    A question from the write up on MLBTR – do the Reds have him under contract thru next season as well at the MLB minimum $? He was on a 2 year deal with Chicago.

    If so, this could be an excellent pick up – unless his bat is fading fast, he surely seems more than the various AAAA level players who have been up and down this season.

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t believe so, no, unless the Reds signed him to a “2-year” deal. That’s not usually something guys with big league time are willing to sign.

    • MBS

      This is the last paragraph on MLBTR

      “The Cubs are on the hook for Mancini’s respective $7MM salaries in each of the next two years. If the Reds select his contract, they’d only owe him the prorated portion of the $720K league minimum for whatever time he spends in the majors. That amount would come off the Cubs’ ledger.“

      Personally I don’t have a strong grip on these rules, but it seems as if he’d be a league minimum for us.

      • Optimist

        As I understand it, he’ll be a league minimum for anyone next season – namely, as Doug explained, the Reds only signed him to a MiLB deal for the rest of this season. Still, if it works out in Sept., perhaps he’d be willing to stay next season. Doubtful anyone makes him an offer exceeding what the Cubs are already paying, but someone could offer much more playing time – he’d only have a limited role with the Reds.

        Essentially, he’d be competing with Joey for the “aging veteran bench bat” role – Nelson Cruz did that for several years, and Carlos Santana is still doing so.

        The good news is if he can win just a single meaningful game in September for the Reds that could be huge – been a long time since they’ve been making that sort of specialized transaction.

  2. Kevin Fox

    Love the signing. Maybe he can make the major league roster and help the Reds make the playoffs.

  3. Michael B. Green

    Doug: Your photo shows Mancini in the OF. Don’t give Bell any ideas… 🙂

  4. SR

    The Louisville squad has 4 catchers currently. Yesterday, the played with 2 catchers and Reynolds on the bench. They need bodies. A former mlber at minimum salary makes sense. Everybody said bellinger was toast too.

  5. Michael B. Green

    If Mancini gets hot, I could see him platooning with Votto at DH/1B. If he sniffs the OF, our defense suffers. We should run Steer, Friedl and Benson out there everyday. The other youngster OF’s are for spelling the starters, spot-starts, blow-out replacements, pinch-running and pinch-hitting. I would not fall in love with some platoon approach if it means a worse defense. We are about the only playoff candidate that has a negative +/-. Now is not the time to have the equivalent of Moustakas at 2B.

    • Michael B. Green

      And for Pete’s Sake, leave Benson in RF. He’s solid there. Fraley is a LF and LF only – especially with an injury. (Please know that “Pete’s Sake” is not in reference to Pete Rose – I don’t want to trigger Doug. :)).

  6. Michael B. Green

    Is Antone ready to join CIN tomorrow? I think he needs added back onto the 40MR – which means someone gets designated. Thoughts?

  7. LT

    As a team, we struggle against soft throwers, against off speed pitches particularly sliders. Maybe Mancini can help with that. At .258 ba against slider, that makes him the best slider hitter in Reds line up, right?

  8. Tom Diesman

    Does this feel like the second coming of Will Myers to anyone else? Albeit a much cheaper version.

    Wil Myers B/T: R/R Age: 32 Pos: RF/1B

    Career .252 .326 .437 .763 109
    2023 .189 .257 .283 .541 45

    Wil Myers B/T: R/R Age: 31 Pos: 1B/LF

    Mancini BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
    Career .263 .328 .448 .775 110
    2023 .234 .299 .336 .635 70

    • 2020ball

      Does anyone else feel like this is just a depth move and not much should be made about it? Even still, your cherry picked numbers don’t mean much to me.

      • 2020ball

        Both player just look like they’re having down years if anything

      • Tom Diesman

        I sure hope it’s just a depth move. Especially since, as the so called “cherry picked” numbers show, they are nearly identical players and I wouldn’t want either in a Reds uniform.

      • Votto4life

        Any numbers posted in this comment section are “cherry picked”. People use numbers that supports their argument. That’s the very definition of “cherry picked”

      • Tom Diesman

        Shucks, I didn’t even realize there was an argument.

  9. DaveCT

    Mancini is likely replacing Martini at AAA, as Martini replaced Ramos who replaced Fraley who replaced Winker.

    • DaveCT

      Excuse me, Ramos, as a switch hitter, may be seen to have replaced both Fairchild and Fraley, though in this case with both Martini and Siani LH hitters, Mancini may yet emerge as a RH batter off the bench.

    • MK

      Why not go all the way back to George Foster?

    • David

      @ DaveCT…yes, that is probably right. I don’t expect Mancini to appear with the Reds. He is just not that good. I don’t expect him back with the Riverbats next year, either. I would think that Blake Dunn would be promoted up to AAA sooner. And Rece Hinds.

      Martini is up here now, and may be here through the end of the year. Fraley has some kind of toe injury that requires surgery, and I don’t expect him to be back in Cincy before the end of the season. India is still suffering from his heal injury, and who knows when that will heal and he will not be playing in pain?

      Martini, Mancini…it’s a little confusing, isn’t it?

  10. RedsMonk65

    Was in Louisville for the Bats game last night vs. Toledo (Bats won, 10-7). Good game, and Bats came back from a 5-1 deficit. Pitching was nothing to speak of, but both Jose Barrero and Nick Senzel had solid performances. Barrero was 3-5, with two home runs and a three-run double (6 RBIs total). Senzel was 2-5 and scored three runs. Both of them also had some nice defensive plays as well. I know there is no room for either on the Reds at this point (or is there?), but perhaps a change of scenery next year will help them both.

    By the way, as a bonus, my party and I got a tour of the press box area, including the “control” room where all the behind-the-scenes action takes place — scorekeeper, scoreboard operator, public address announcer, music director (all computerized anymore — no organs), video feed/replay operator, etc. All in all, about 8 people in one room. Quite the production and fascinating to see them all working in tandem together. Not something most of us see or think about while at a ballgame — a lot of work goes on behind the scenes, and these people seemed to be thoroughly enjoying what they were doing!

    • Rednat

      I HOPE THEY DON’t GIVE UP ON BARRERO. He is the best option at shortstop imo. EDLC reminds me of my 5 year old push lawn mower at short. get’s the job done but is a little shaky.

      Senzel I think is a decent niche player. good defense at 3rd and tough against left wouldn’t bother me if they kept him around as well

      • RedsMonk65

        I agree, though I do think there is a high probability one or both will be gone in 2024.

      • David

        The 40 man will get re-aligned after the season, and I expect Senzel will be non-tendered. I think we have seen the last of Old Nick in Cincy.

        Barrero is a talented young guy. I hope they don’t give up on him, but I think he is out of options after this year. Somebody will want him as a young SS.

      • TR

        The question is does Senzel want to stay around- with the Reds?

    • Redsvol

      Interesting comment. I like Barrero a lot – and he has been hitting in Louisville. The problem is, he’s also striking out in Louisville – a lot! A 30% strikeout rate there will only be higher in MLB and that just won’t play unless its for a team that is a cellar-dweller. He just rarely takes a walk.

      I don’t really understand what is happening in the internation league this year. Almost every team has an average OPS of .800! Last year no team had an average ops over 800. Louisville leads the entire league in OPS this year @ .873- and its not particularly close. Sure their numbers were boosted by the likes of McLain, EDLC and CES but there are several more guys that are just hammering the ball.

      • David

        The pitching at the AAA level…overall, is atrocious, because anybody who is any good is getting promoted to the Majors.
        Every team in the Majors is just a little short of pitching. Just look at the Reds scraping the bottom of the barrel with Brett Kennedy and Mark Mariot (at AAA). Ricky Karcher is still with the Riverbats.
        I mean, the other night, the Bats had 24 runs scored against them.
        And the Mariners picked up Luke Weaver.

        That’s what I think, and if I’m wrong, it doesn’t really matter, does it? 😉

  11. RedsGettingBetter

    No problem with this deal, I think. It’s just another minor league contract and he’ll go to play in the Bats not the Reds right now…

  12. SultanofSwaff

    *snark* Cubs DFA’d Tucker Barnhart. Let’s sign him too!

    Maybe it’s still a thing, but you’d always bet the team with the most ex-Cubs to lose lol.

    • MK

      Cub factor 3 ex-Cubs on the roster makes a team a loser.

  13. Tim

    I would not be going to far our on a ledge to say that the Bats and the Lookouts coaching staffs are the best thing the entire organization has going for it. I’m all for getting a player for cheap that the Bats staff might be able to sprinkle some pixie dust on.

  14. Melvin

    If he does start to hit again the Reds had better bring up the Bats hitting coach fast before some other ML team grabs him up. Seems like he’s doing wonders for hitters.

    • SR

      Agreed. Let’s recap. I believe it was the same coach last year too when Fraley and Friedl went down and came back changed hitters.
      This year, EDLC CES arrive in Louisville and their strike out ratios drop and walk rates improve. Same with Benson after his trip to Louisville. For that matter, Ramos got better too. Hopkins and Chuckie Robinson both have higher numbers than ever. I know Hopkins started slow but yesterday in game two he looked comfortable and hit the ball hard, until Bell pinch hit for him late.
      Why are we sending them to AAA for batting instruction? That guy should be with the Reds team everyday. He has already worked with all but Stephenson Steer India And Maile in the last two years. The current team is averaging 10k’s a game since the all star game. They could use a different approach.

      • Doc

        Maybe AAA players will listen but MLB players won’t.

        Maybe it is easier for hitters to work on tweaks in game situations in AAA rather than MLB.

  15. Mark Moore

    Oh how far the Washington Nationals have fallen (or as I liked to call them, the ESPN DC Harpers). Strasburg is hanging it up for good (not surprised).

  16. JC

    Looks like Votto to IL and Senzel called back up. Kind of surprised they’re bringing him back. Honestly thought his time in Cindy was done.

    • JC

      Cincy not Cindy. Unfortunate autocorrect.

      • Doc

        Nothing works better than proof reading by a human!

  17. Jeremiah

    Good signing I think. Maybe Mancini turns it around a bit. I think they need a little more veteran leaderhship but they have to produce of course. Reds don’t have much veteran presence right now as everyone is injured kinda crazy, Votto, India, Fraley, Newman, etc.