Blue Jays 40-man Roster Review: Alek Manoah went from Opening Day starter to the Florida Complex League to purgatory

Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
6 months ago
We’ll get this out of the way right now, the Blue Jays aren’t going to trade Alek Manoah for Jonathan India.
This is the 40-man Roster Review, in which we’re going to take a look back at each player on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster, and how they performed in 2023, as well as their outlook for 2024.
We all know the story of how Manoah’s 2023 went. The 25-year-old had his first test of adversity in professional baseball, posting a 5.87 ERA and a 6.01 FIP in 87.1 innings pitched with the Jays, along with a career-low 19 K% and a career-high 14.2 BB%. On a rate basis, the 15 home runs he gave up (1.55 HR/9) was also the highest in his career.
After just 35 innings pitched in the minor leagues between when he was drafted in 2019 and the start of the 2021 season, Manoah was promoted to Blue Jays where he had instant success. In his rookie season, he had a 3.22 ERA and a 3.80 FIP in 111.2 innings pitched, along with a career-high 27.7 K5 and an 8.7 BB%.
His second season in the bigs was even better, posting a 2.24 ERA and a 3.35 FIP in 196.2 innings pitched, along with a 22.9 K% and a career-best 6.5 BB% for a 4.1 fWAR and a Cy Young nomination. This makes the struggle in 2023 all the more surprising.
It’s been reported that the Jays are viewing Manoah’s trade value as the Cy Young candidate he was two seasons ago, rather than whatever his 2023 season was. Realistically, teams (or at least their fanbases) are looking at him as a “flier” option, such as this Cincinnati Reds site, or this Minnesota Twins site.
Of course, both these articles ignore why Manoah has value. Not only does he still have a 3.36 career ERA in 395.2 innings pitched, but Manoah also has four years remaining in team control, including making the minimum salary in 2024. Not just that, but Manoah looks to be in much better shape.
Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun recently wrote an article in which John Schneider said that the relationship is strong, even Manoah was upset about the two times he was optioned in 2023.
It appears it’s Manoah’s job to lose when Spring Training kicks off. If Manoah can find his 2022-form and there’s no regression from the other four starters, Toronto easily has the best rotation in the majors.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.


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