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Mancini's goal: to be 'best leader I can be'

@JoeTrezz
January 15, 2020

BALTIMORE -- Since the Orioles’ rebuilding process began, Trey Mancini has been steadfast in saying he hopes to remain in Baltimore until it plays out. That’s been true throughout this offseason, as Mancini’s name sprouted up frequently in trade speculation. It remained true on Wednesday, when Mancini made his hosting

BALTIMORE -- Since the Orioles’ rebuilding process began, Trey Mancini has been steadfast in saying he hopes to remain in Baltimore until it plays out. That’s been true throughout this offseason, as Mancini’s name sprouted up frequently in trade speculation. It remained true on Wednesday, when Mancini made his hosting debut on the airwaves.

“As much fun as winning is an wanting to win now, I think it could make it sweeter if you’re kind of through some tough times and through a rebuild and come out the other side, and you’re seeing a lot of wins in the win column,” Mancini said on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio program "The Leadoff Spot," which he co-hosted as part of MLB Network’s Players Week. “I think that would be a goal of mine, later on, is to be there when we’re winning again.”

During his one-hour segment alongside Steve Phillips and Eduardo Perez, Mancini also touched on topics like the O’s underrated offense, the challenge of competing in the American League East and the excitement surrounding top prospect Adley Rutschman. A’s closer Liam Hendriks, Twins righty Jake Odorizzi and Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader are also scheduled to host the show this week.

“We’re going to have a really young team this year, and that’s great,” Mancini said. “The sooner some young guys get up, experience what it’s like to play in the Majors, it makes you grow up quick. That certainly was the case for me.”

It didn’t stop Mancini from blossoming into an elite-level hitter in 2019, when he also assumed a leadership role in the O’s inexperienced clubhouse. The 27-year-old set career highs in nearly every major offensive category en route to hitting .291/.364/.535 with 35 home runs and 97 RBIs. Now entering his fourth full season, Mancini qualifies as an elder statesman on a roster without recently traded veterans Dylan Bundy and Jonathan Villar.

“Hopefully we have young guys who can play well,” Mancini said. “I know I need to step up and be there for them if they need any advice or anything. That’s one of my big goals -- to be the best leader I can be for these guys getting their first taste of Major League ball.”

Asked what appeals to him about the rebuilding process, Mancini said, “It’s the organization I got drafted by. I love Baltimore, the city, so much, and I’ve become close to so many people in the organization, whether they are players or not. You know, it’s hard to see yourself somewhere else.”

Mancini then referenced longtime Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman, who was rewarded for enduring many lean years in Washington with last season's World Series victory. Mancini expressed admiration for Zimmerman and what he means to the city and franchise in D.C.

“He stuck it out there, he was their first [Draft] pick and was there through a lot of good times and bad,” Mancini said. “I think there is something really admirable about that.”

Of course, Mancini may not have a say in the matter. The Orioles have not approached their star hitter about an extension, and they don’t need to, given he is under team control through 2022. The more likely scenario is that the O’s would those years as leverage in trade talks, of which Mancini has been the subject for the better part of a year. Given his '19 breakout, he remains the best chip for a franchise that went 54-108 last year and is looking to stockpile its farm system with prospects.

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.