Matt Clement Superfan Trey Mancini Brings Veteran Leadership to Cubs

Trey Mancini isn’t a guy who turns the Cubs into World Series contenders, but he’s exactly the kind of player you bring in to help give you a little push. The Astros did that last year when they traded for the former Oriole en route to another title. While Mancini struggled at the plate following the trade and hit poorly in the playoffs, he stepped up with a huge defensive play in Game 5 after Yuli Gurriel left with an injury.

“You have to stick through those times and even when you’re not feeling great, you’re playing for something much bigger than yourself,” Mancini told reporters during his introductory Zoom call Monday afternoon. “That’s something I knew even before that, but especially whenever you’re going through it, it’s tough but you have to stay the course ‘cause your number’s gonna be called when you least expect it.”

Primarily a left fielder early in his career, a bulk of Mancini’s innings have come at first over the last three seasons. He has also gotten over 800 plate appearances as a DH, so he’s comfortable with just about any spot and said as much when the Cubs were recruiting him.

“I told [Ross], I don’t care where I play at all; I like playing,” Mancini said. “Wherever you want me, I’m there.”

Though he was originally slated to play for Italy in the World Baseball Classic this spring, Mancini has opted to withdraw in order to spend more time with his new team. This will be his first camp with any organization other than Baltimore and he’s never played with anyone on the Cubs roster, so wanted the opportunity to get to know all of his new teammates.

“I think when you have a lot of exciting young talent meshed with some of the right veteran guys, that can be a great mix,” Mancini explained. “I think it’s just getting the right mix of people in there and I think that we’ve certainly done that. I’m excited for us all to be in the same clubhouse and get it started.”

The whole Cubs thing won’t be too unfamiliar, though, as the Winter Haven, FL native grew up as a Cubs fan and played his college ball not far away at Notre Dame.

To echo Jeff Passan’s assessment of the Cubs as a whole this offseason, I think the Mancini signing is one of those sneaky-good deals that could really pay dividends over the next two years.

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