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Houston Astros decide the fate of two World Series roster players

Trey Mancini is now a free agent. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The Houston Astros have decided to decline a mutual option for DH/1B Trey Mancini. Mancini is now a free agent, with the Astros opting for the $250,000 buyout.


Astros relief pitcher Will Smith is now a free agent as well, with the team declining his $13 million option. Smith's struggles continued after being traded to Houston at the trade deadline in a deal that sent starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Atlanta Braves. Houston hoped to correct some of Smith's issues, as he was ineffective with Atlanta in 2022, but unfortunately a change of scenery wasn't enough to get Smith back on track. He finished the season with a 3.97 ERA, and didn't see any action in the postseason.

Trey Mancini was a different story, much was expected of him when he was traded to the Astros from the Orioles, where he was batting .268 on the season. After coming to Houston, Mancini batted under .200 and was unable to provide the offensive output the team had hoped for.

Mancini was able to contribute in the postseason with his glove, however, after Yuli Gurriel was injured in Game 5 of the World Series, and he had to step in and play first base. Trey made a game-saving play at first base in Game 5 and recorded a hit in Game 6 contributing to the Astros World Series win over the Phillies.

These are just the first two dominoes to fall as the Astros have more decisions to make in free agency with several key players.

Michael Brantley, Yuli Gurriel, Rafael Montero, just to name a few.

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James Harden returned to Houston Monday night and lost to the Rockets in double overtime. After the game, Harden complimented the maturation of the Rockets young players, and had some nice things to say about Houston.

Harden has a player option and can opt out after the season, which has some Rockets fans wondering if he would consider returning to Houston and taking over as the team's primary ball handler.

Plus, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has said he wouldn't rule out Harden returning at some point.

Be sure to watch the video above as we break down all the angles involving a potential fit for James Harden with Houston's young core of players, and much more.

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Catch The Bench with John and Lance weekdays from 7-10 AM on ESPN 97.5 and 92.5.

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