Astros Decline Options On Trey Mancini and Will Smith

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Tommy Gilligan/AP/Shutterstock (13412881c) Houston Astros’ Trey Mancini (26) waves to the crowd during a second-inning at-bat against the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game, in Baltimore Astros Orioles Basebal, Baltimore, United States – 22 Sep 2022

Astros Decline Options On Trey Mancini and Will Smith

At the trade deadline, Astros GM James Click reportedly had a deal set in place to trade for Willson Contreras of the Cubs. However, owner Jim Crane allegedly nixed the deal that would have sent Jose Urquidy to the Cubs for Contreras. So, Click turned his attention to Christian Vazquez of the Red Sox and landed their backup catcher. The Vazquez trade turned out to be a good one as he was part of the big no-hitter in Philadelphia in Game 4 and contributed a big hit and sac-fly in Game 6. He also served as an equal backup to Martin Maldonaldo overall.

But what about the other two deals Click made at the trade deadline?

The Designated Hitter/First Baseman.

Before the Vazquez trade came the Trey Mancini trade, in which Click, in part of a three-way deal, sent Jose Siri to the Rays and Chayce McDermott to the Orioles. The Astros, in return, got Mancini and RHP Jayden Murray. Coming in, Mancini had a slash line of .268/.347/.404/.751 with ten homers and 41 RBI. After a quick start homer-wise with the Astros, his slash line fell to .176/.258/.364/.622 with eight homers and 22 RBI. Mancini was needed as a depth option, with Yuli Gurriel struggling offensively at the time.

In the postseason, where the Astros desperately needed someone to step up in the DH spot, his slash line dropped to .048/.125/.048/.173 with one hit in 21 at-bats. However, when Gurriel went out with a knee injury, Mancini was able to provide some great defense at first base. His defense was key to the Astros holding the lead in Game 6 of the World Series.

However, Mancini had a mutual $10 million option for 2023, meaning both him and the Astros would have to agree to the option. The Astros do have to pay a $250,000 buyout to Mancini. According to Spotrac, Mancini’s market value is $18.1 million.

The Astros did not think that he was worth the discounted $10 million option after his 2022 performance with the Astros. Jon Morosi announced earlier that he was one of two players whose options were not picked up for 2023.

The Lefty

Click gave in by acquiring Will Smith for starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi, a rotational depth piece for the Astros. The Braves were down on Smith and could have used another starter in their rotation, so they made the deal. Dusty Baker has been very vocal about wanting a left-handed pitcher. You gave Baker what he wanted, right? A lefty reliever? Baker later said that he was looking for a lefty reliever and still is, following the Smith trade.

With the Astros, Smith improved his ERA (4.38 to 3.27), walks per nine innings pitched (5.1 to 1.6), and strikeouts per walk (1.95 to 6.00). Still, the Astros left Smith off the ALDS and ALCS rosters in favor of Jose Urquidy. Smith was added to the World Series roster due to the number of lefties in the Phillies’ lineup. How many times did he pitch in the World Series? None. That is a far cry from the 11 appearances in the playoffs last year for the Braves.

Smith came over with a $13 million team option along with a $1 million buyout. The Astros were never going to pay that number. Therefore, he was the second player the Astros declined options for on Wednesday.

Who are free agents now?

Gurriel, Vazquez, Michael Brantley, Jason Castro, Aledmys Diaz, Mancini, Rafael Montero, and Smith. While not officially a free agent, Justin Verlander is expected to opt-out of his team-friendly $25 million option for 2023. There are some key free agents the Astros need to focus on, but Mancini and Smith were not of that group. Were they required at the time? Sure. At least they got rings, and we will never forget Mancini’s great defensive stop in Game 6.

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