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Trey Mancini Cubs Agreement

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CHICAGO — Eric Hosmer arrived at the Cubs Convention this weekend as the Cubs’ new veteran first baseman, wearing a smart blue Cubbie blazer. Prospect Matt Mervis walked around the Sheraton Grand Chicago, where fans lined up to get the future first baseman’s autograph.

And on Saturday night, as Cubs fans toasted the upcoming season with one day left until the convention, news broke that first baseman Trey Mancini was also in the North Siders’ plans. A source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand that Mancini has agreed to a two-year deal with the Cubs pending a physical.

The Cubs have not confirmed the deal, which includes a waiver after the 2023 season, according to Feinsand. The financial aspect of the contract was also not immediately known.

The previous Saturday at the Cubs Convention, President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer noted that Hosmer, who swings left, would be “playing right-handed pitchers every day.” This left open the possibility of a platooning situation with a right-handed hitter. Mancini fits that mold.

Hosmer said “everything” about the Cubs situation was appealing.

“It’s just a young, energetic group,” Hosmer said. “On the other side, looking in, you see the talent, you see the guys that are moving up and some of the signs that they’ve done.”

Before Hosmer reached a league-minimum deal — San Diego is on the hook for the remainder of his previous deal that runs through 2025 — the Cubs signed free agents Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger and Jameson Taillon, among others.

“It looks like a really good group and it looks like a totally open split,” Hosmer said. “And that these guys could have a really good chance. And I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Hoyer believes there may be a real “change of scenery” in Hosmer’s situation.

“In San Diego, he went there, signed a big contract,” Hoyer said. “He had a few good years but obviously it wasn’t how they expected it and they’ve moved on. And that wasn’t the most comfortable environment when it happened. And I think putting him in our environment, I think it’s good remaining years.”

Mancini — named the 2021 American League Returning Player of the Year after a recovery from Stage 3 colon cancer — is coming off a solid showing in 22 between the Orioles and Astros. He hit 18 home runs with 63 RBIs, but struggled (. 622 OPS) after a mid-season trade to Houston.

Mancini’s best season came in 2019, when he hit 35 home runs and an OPS of . 899 in a debut for Baltimore. Over his career, he posted remarkable splits against right-handers (. 265/. 330/. 456) and left-handers (. 266/. 331/. 459).

Hosmer has four Gold Glove Awards, but advanced defensive metrics haven’t been kind to him in recent years. At the plate, he had reverse splits in 2022 (. 773 OPS against lefties, compared to . 693 OPS against righties), but he did better against righties (. 810 OPS) than lefties (.

On the field, the 30-year-old Mancini also has experience at both ends, but his slot with the Cubs would be at first base, where he has been a standout halfback. Patrick Wisdom can also bowl first and hit as a designated hitter, but he can also go third with Mancini on board.

Adding Mancini to the first base and DH image could also mean Mervis’ most likely opening day destination is Triple-A Iowa. Last year, 24-year-old Mervis hit . 309 with 36 home runs, 119 RBIs and . 984 OPS while rising in High-A, Double-A and Triple-A.

Before adding Hosmer and Mancini, Mervis (No. 21 on Pipeline’s Top 30 prospect list) seemed to have a real path to Chicago’s Opening Day roster. Now the Cubs can take a more typical developmental approach for a player not currently on the 40-man roster.

“I’m not going to put any extra pressure on myself trying to make the team by having a big game in Spring Training,” said Mervis. “These guys are smarter than that. They’re not going to see me hit a home run or something and say, ‘Yeah, he’s ready.’ Obviously, they’re going to work a little harder than that and evaluate things however they need to.”

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