HOUSTON — The Astros fulfilled two of their biggest needs at the Trade Deadline on a whirlwind Monday when they acquired first baseman/designated hitter Trey Mancini from the Orioles and catcher Christian Vázquez from the Red Sox on separate deals.
Mancini’s deal was a three-team deal with the Rays and Orioles. Vázquez was acquired from the Red Sox in exchange for infielder Enmanuel Valdez (the Astros’ No. 28 prospect) and outfielder Wilyer Abreu (No. 29 prospect).
“It’s a business,” Vázquez told reporters before being pulled away by a member of the Red Sox media relations department.
The Astros are still in the market for relief pitching and have been fixated on Detroit lefty Gregory Soto, according to a source, ahead of Tuesday’s 5 p.m. CT Trade Deadline.
Mancini gives the Astros a veteran right-handed bat that will fill out their lineup nicely with his ability to play first base, designated hitter and even left field, where veteran Michael Brantley is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Vázquez will join veteran Martín Maldonado and split time at the catching spot, with veteran Jason Castro (knee) perhaps out for the season.
Mancini was an experienced club leader in Baltimore and has playoff experience. He’s also a cancer survivor whose off-field perseverance has been more important than his on-field strength. The 30-year-old has a $10 million mutual option for 2023 and has hit .268/.347/.404 with 10 homers this year. Based on Statcast metrics, Mancini could potentially have around 17 homers instead of 10 if he’d been an Astro all year, playing his home games in Houston, where Minute Maid Park has a short left-field porch.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the organization,” Mancini said. “They’ve had such a consistently good team for a lot of years, and they’re having another great year this year. So I’m excited to be a part of it and. Yeah, it’s crazy. But yeah, like I said, wasn’t expecting anything to happen today. So I’m still just kind of taking it all in. … But definitely excited to see what the rest of this year holds in Houston.”
The Astros sent outfielder Jose Siri to the Rays and their No. 12 prospect, right-hander Chayce McDermott, to the O’s, while Tampa Bay is sending right-hander (and the team’s No. 6 prospect) Seth Johnson to Baltimore and right-hander Jayden Murray to Houston.
Orioles get: RHP Seth Johnson (Rays’ No. 6 prospect) and RHP Chayce McDermott (Astros’ No. 12 prospect)
Astros get: 1B/DH Trey Mancini (from Orioles) and RHP Jayden Murray (from Rays)
Rays get: OF Jose Siri (from Astros)
The Astros have been getting little production this season at first base, where Yuli Gurriel’s performance has dropped off from 2021, when he won the American League batting title. Houston also has lacked production in center field, where Jake Meyers and Chas McCormick are splitting time. Brantley, the starting left-fielder, has been out since June 26.
Meanwhile, Vázquez, 31, is hitting .282/.327/.432 with eight homers and 42 RBIs in 84 games this year with the Red Sox, who took him in the ninth round in the 2008 MLB Draft out of Puerto Rico. His four-year, $20.3 million contract expires at the end of this season. Maldonado was slashing .173/.239/.342 with 10 homers and 30 RBIs entering Monday after posting a .852 OPS in July.
Murray, 25, has gone 8-3 with a 3.24 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 17 games (16 starts) between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham in Tampa Bay’s organization this season. For his Minor League career, he has a 2.61 ERA with 216 strikeouts and a 0.94 WHIP. Murray was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2019 MLB Draft.
Former Astros slugger J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox called Vázquez “one of my favorite teammates I’ve ever played with. Great person, great ballplayer, great everything. We’re going to miss him.
“They are going to get a great player that is going to put everything he has in the game.”
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