Now that Carlos Correa has signed with the Minnesota Twins, the question is now what? The New York Mets still need to add another bat, and with Michael Conforto signing with the San Francisco Giants, their options have become even more limited.
One of the better hitters left on the market is Trey Mancini, who played for Buck Showalter with the Baltimore Orioles. At 31, it does seem as if he is moving past his prime, but he does have some thunder remaining in his bat.
Last season, Mancini had a 104 wRC+. That came on the heels of a 105 season, which was a drop from his 132 mark in 2019. Of course, two things must be noted here. First and foremost, he missed the 2020 season due to cancer. Second he was thriving with the Orioles before being traded to the Houston Astros at the trade deadline.
Looking at Baseball Savant, Mancini has seen his average exit velocities and barrels drop each of his past five seasons. However, he did hit enough last season to be an effective DH. He also appears to be one of the players who could benefit from the shift.
Last season, Mancini had a .228 wOBA against the shift. When he was not shifted, Mancini had a .314 wOBA. It should be noted the shift numbers have been anomaly for his career with him posting strong numbers against the shift for most of his career. Then again, that was back when he had a higher exit velocity.
Where Mancini does his damage is against right-handed pitching. In 2022, he had a 111 wRC+ against right-handed pitching against an 88 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. For his career, Mancini is actually better against left-handed pitching with a 112 wRC+ against a 111 against right-handed pitching.
Part of the reason for the change in numbers was his role with the Astros. Before the trade deadline, Mancini was a 98 wRC+ against left-handed pitching while with the Orioles. That dropped to a 64 with the Astros. It should also be noted Mancini is typically a much better first half player than second half player.
To a certain degree, we see Mancini did not and would not thrive in the role Darin Ruf had last year. On that note, Ruf did not thrive in that role. Ruf and Mancini are really everyday players or semi-regular players who have platoon advantages.
This is again where Daniel Vogelbach presents a problem. His numbers against right-handed pitching cannot be matched by anyone, but his possible platoon partners do not thrive on limited duty. That would seem to qualify for Mancini, who at this point in his career is an everyday DH who can fill-in at a position for a game or two. No more.
Perhaps, Billy Eppler can start moving things around to make Mancini or someone else a fit. However, it does appear too late in the game to start doing that. It seems Vogelbach is in place at DH. While the Mets should look to improve on Ruf, and Mancini promises to be that, it does not appear he can truly fulfill that role.