Astros upgrade roster with trades for 1B Mancini, C Vázquez

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HOUSTON — The Houston Astros acquired first baseman Trey Mancini from the Baltimore Orioles in a three-team trade Monday, and then added catcher Christian Vazquez in a deal with the Boston Red Sox.

Houston moved speedy outfielder Jose Siri to the Tampa Bay Rays in the trade that netted Mancini.

The AL West-leading Astros were in the market for a first baseman with Yuli Gurriel struggling this season. The 38-year-old Gurriel hit .319 to win the American League batting title in 2021, but has hit just .243 with seven homers and 28 RBIs this year.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Mancini would be tough to replace on and off the field and that the conversation about the trade was difficult.

“Trey has been such an important part of our lives here the last, since I’ve been here, and a big part of Baltimore and a big part of this community,” Hyde said. “And you know it’s hard to see someone like him go, just a close friend to so many people.

“It wasn’t fun, but happy for him and the opportunity he’s going to have, but it’s hard to say goodbye.’

The Astros also needed depth at catcher with Jason Castro, the backup to Martin Maldonado, out with a knee injury and rookie Korey Lee filling in. Maldonado has been credited for aiding the success of Houston’s mostly young pitching staff, but he’s hitting just .173 this season, making Vazquez a significant upgrade offensively.

The 31-year-old Vazquez is hitting .282 with eight homers and 42 RBIs this season. In an eight-year career with the Red Sox, he has batted .262 with 54 homers and 266 RBIs.

Vazquez was in the Red Sox lineup Monday at Houston before being scratched just minutes before the game. Now he’ll move to the other clubhouse at Minute Maid Park where he’ll try to help the Astros make another deep playoff push.

The Astros sent minor league infielder Enmanuel Valdez and outfielder Wilyer Abreu to the Red Sox in the trade.

Mancini, who has been in the lineup at designated hitter 51 times this season, also could fill that role for Houston with Michael Brantley out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.

The 30-year-old Mancini is hitting .268 with 10 homers and 41 RBIs in 92 games this season. He broke into the majors with Baltimore in 2016 and batted .270 with 117 homers and 350 RBIs in 701 games with the Orioles.

“I always said I wanted to see the rebuild through and I feel like, in a lot of ways, I have,” Mancini told reporters in Arlington, Texas, where the Orioles were playing the Rangers on Monday night. “I think things are only going to get better here, and besides when I’m playing against them, I’m always gonna be rooting for these guys in here.”

Mancini missed all of 2020 after being diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer that March. He returned in 2021 and batted .255 with 21 homers, 71 RBIs and a .758 OPS in 147 games.

Houston also received minor league right-hander Jayden Murray from Tampa Bay. The Astros sent Siri to the Rays and minor league right-hander Chayce McDermott to the Orioles.

The 27-year-old Siri made his big league debut last year. He hit .178 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 48 games with Houston this season.

Mancini has a $7.5 million salary this season as part of a contract that includes a $10 million mutual option for 2023 with a $250,000 buyout.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.