First baseman and designated hitter Trey Mancini, who is entering his final season of club control before free agency, was one of three players offered arbitration by the Orioles ahead of the Nov. 30 tender deadline. Three others agreed to one-year deals in advance of the deadline.
The tender deadline was originally Dec. 2, but MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed to move it to an earlier date with the collective bargaining agreement set to expire the same day.
The Orioles also offered arbitration to starting pitcher John Means and reliever Tanner Scott. Outfielder Anthony Santander and relievers Jorge Lopez and Paul Fry agreed to one-year deals to avoid arbitration. Santander reportedly signed for $3.15 million; Lopez, $1.5 million, and Fry, $850,000.
Mancini, 29, is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $7.9 million in 2022. He had a career year in 2019, hitting .291/.364/.535 with 35 home runs prior to his first year of arbitration. However, Mancini missed all of 2020 due to colon cancer treatment. He returned in 2021, hitting .255/.326/.432 and 21 home runs in 147 games and earning American League Comeback Player of the Year.
Mancini put forth an inspiring performance in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game festivities in Denver last season as well. Not long after that, he made clear that he would like to stay in Baltimore long term.
“Of course I want to stay,” Mancini told local reporters before the start of the second half of the season. “I’ve always said that and I still do. But again, that’s something that I can’t control. It’s a business and I know that, so whatever happens, happens. I hope to stay but I understand there’s a much bigger picture than just myself.”
Mancini figures to again split at-bats at first base and designated hitter with Ryan Mountcastle, who hit 33 home runs in his first full season in the major leagues in 2021. Both should be middle-of-the-order fixtures in the lineup in 2022, as should Santander, who is now officially back in the fold.
Santander, 27, is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility. He earned Most Valuable Oriole honors in 2020, hitting .261/.315/.575 with 11 home runs in 37 games before an oblique strain ended his season. He fought through an ankle issue throughout most of the 2021 season, hitting .241/.286/.433 with 18 homers in 110 games. He is expected to start the 2022 season in right field, with Cedric Mullins in center and Austin Hays in left.
On the pitching side, Means is expected to lead the Orioles’ rotation once again in 2022. The 28-year-old is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility. He is projected to earn $3.1 million in 2022. Means made 26 starts in 2021, posting a 3.62 ERA in 146.2 innings. He also threw a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners in May. However, Means battled shoulder issues during the summer and allowed 30 home runs on the year.
Lopez, Fry and Scott are all entering their first year of arbitration eligibility, with Lopez and Fry having already agreed to salaries for 2022.
Lopez, 28, struggled as a starter in 2021 but flashed in short relief. He was moved to the bullpen in late August, giving up two runs and striking out 10 in 8.1 innings before being shut down with an ankle injury.
Fry, 28, was one of the Orioles’ most valuable relievers in 2020 (2.45 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 22 innings) and started off that way in 2021 as well. However, he posted an 11.05 ERA in his final 26 appearances before being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Scott, 27, was one of the best relievers in baseball in 2020 (1.31 ERA in 20.2 innings), but he walked 37 batters in 54 innings in 2021. Command has been an ongoing challenge for the power lefty. Scott is projected to earn $1 million.
Infielder Richie Martin was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk as well.
Update: The Orioles announced the signing of veteran infielder Rougned Odor Nov. 30. There are 38 players on the 40-man roster.
Photo Credit: Colin Murphy/PressBox