Trey Mancini’s first spring training doesn’t seem like it was just four years ago.
At Mancini’s first big league camp in 2016, the Orioles were contenders in the American League. Mancini was able to learn from Mark Trumbo, who led the league in home runs that year, team captain Adam Jones and Chris Davis, who had recently completed a 47-home run season.
Mancini was 23 at the time. Now, he’s a seasoned veteran leader on an Orioles team once again expected to be one of, if not the, worst team in baseball.
That fact isn’t lost on Mancini, who will be just 28 years old when the Orioles start the 2020 season in late March. His role now is much different than the one he had under the previous Orioles regime.
“I know it’s my turn now to do the same for them, even though it seems like yesterday that was me,” Mancini said last week at an Orioles caravan event. “I definitely feel like it’s my time to be in that role and be there for guys that need advice and need help.”
Mancini, though, doesn’t necessarily look fondly on his first big league spring training.
He started the spring 0-for-9 and, as he put it, was a “bull in a china shop.”
“Every game, every at-bat, I was just swinging at everything,” Mancini said.
His desire to impress the coaching staff, and some of his major league counterparts, weighed too heavily on his mind. And with the Orioles hosting nearly 70 players in Florida, he understands the desire to want to stick out early on.
“I remember Buck (Showalter) sitting me down when I had gotten reassigned to minor league camp and telling me that, ‘Enjoy it a little bit, not be so intense all the time,’” Mancini recalled. “That’s probably what I want to tell them too.”
Since 2017, when he took over as a full-time player, he’s certainly relaxed too.
He slashed .291/.364/.535 last season and hit 35 home runs — a career high. He also had an OPS of .899 in a season where he played 57 games at first base, 93 in the outfield and 17 as a DH. But despite his career year, the Orioles remained in the basement.
Mancini hasn’t seen much winning in Baltimore. In fact, he’s played just five games on a team with a winning record (2016) since he’s been a big leaguer.
In his three seasons as an Oriole, the team has posted a combined 176-310 record — a winning percentage of just .362.
Now, in the midst of a franchise rebuild, there’s been an influx of youth to every roster across the franchise. For many younger players on the team, Mancini holds the same role that Jones, Davis and Trumbo held to him.
But all of Mancini’s leadership and success on the field has come with trade rumors and whispers that have persisted since he joined the Orioles.
“I think I’ve gotten better in my career of not listening to that, ever since I was in the minors there have always been trade rumors floating around,” Mancini said. “But it hasn’t happened yet...Really nothing that I thought twice about.”
So, for now, at the very least, Mancini remains in the black and orange for another season. And Mancini is ready
“It’s great having a year under our belt,” Mancini said. “All of us have played together for a full year now, too. I’m really excited in seeing what strides we take this year.”
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