Alright. New York Yankees fans aren’t going to forget this, so when any Baltimore Orioles or Tampa Bay Rays fans come to the stadium and receive an even more-unwelcome-than-usual reception, just know this is why.
On Monday, overshadowed by the Yankees’ acquisitions of Scott Effross, Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino was a sneaky dealing between the Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles. For whatever reason, there needed to be a three-team trade involving outfielder Trey Mancini, who’s on an expiring contract.
The likelihood of the Orioles trading Mancini was difficult enough to cope with in the buildup to all of this. He’s been the heart and soul of an organization that oversaw one of the worst tank jobs in the sport’s history, missed the 2020 season due to a battle with colon cancer, and returned in 2021 only to participate in the Home Run Derby (finished second) and put up impressive production over his last 239 games in Baltimore.
Why there were no extension talks, we’ll never know. The O’s have a next-to-$0 payroll and are contending for an AL Wild Card spot.
So, yeah, learning on Monday that he was traded to the ASTROS, who badly needed to fill an outfield spot with a capable major league hitter, with the help of the RAYS is just a different level of “sickening” for Yankees fans.
The Orioles and Rays helped the Astros trade for outfielder Trey Mancini
The Astros are the literal and figurative monster standing in the Yankees’ way on their path out of the American League and to the World Series. One of their main holes was in the outfield, where they didn’t have capable all-around play in center or left field.
On the offensive/positional depth side of things, that was their biggest need by far. Now Mancini, who’s hitting a respectable .268 with a .751 OPS and 114 OPS+, is an Astro, and will be protected by far better hitters than he was surrounded by in Baltimore.
Oh, and did we need to mention how we despise the Boston Red Sox and expected them to conduct this nonsense sell-off before 6 p.m. on Aug. 2?
The Astros filled another need just hours later when Boston sent catcher/first baseman Christian Vazquez, who loves nothing more than talking trash on the Yankees and, though doesn’t necessarily have the stats to back it up, routinely makes timely plays against them, to Houston.
In one fell swoop, the Astros used the AL East to solve a colossal outfield problem as well as the dearth of offense behind the plate (Martin Maldonado) and at first base (Yuli Gurriel). That’s a considerable depth upgrade that allows manager Dusty Baker more flexibility.
Yankees fans shouldn’t expect anything less, though, from their shameless division rivals. You have the Red Sox who have torn down a contender in the name of saving money despite essentially printing currency like the Federal Reserve. You have the O’s trading the lifeblood of their recent run as a franchise despite possessing the league’s lowest payroll following one of the most shameful tank jobs you’ll ever witness. And then there’s Tampa, who’s king at suppressing wages with their abusive use of options, the introduction of “the opener,” and trading players right when they start to accrue value (Austin Meadows, Joey Wendle most recently).
On the contrary, that’s why it’ll be even better if the Yankees can beat the odds and be the last team standing in October.