Should the Braves take a flier on Alek Manoah?

MLB: JUL 07 Blue Jays at Tigers

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Toronto Blue Jays are open to moving Alek Manoah.

Alek Manoah had about as bad of a season as I can remember following a year in which he was one of the most dominant pitchers in the game. The 6-foot-6, 285-pound right-hander made 19 starts and recorded a 5.87 ERA. Manoah’s home run rate more than doubled and he walked over six batters per nine innings, up from 2.3 batters per nine innings in 2022.

But let’s talk about that 2022 season because it was spectacular. Manoah finished third in the AL Cy Young race, posting a 2.24 ERA and 0.992 WHIP over 31 starts in just his second year in the big leagues. As a rookie, Manoah finished eighth in the AL Rookie of the Year race after going 9-2 with a 3.22 ERA and 10.2 K/9.

This was one of the bright young arms in the game, and for whatever reason, Manoah was a mess in 2023. It was so bad that the Blue Jays sent him back to rookie ball to work things out, and he responded by giving up 11 earned runs over 2.2 innings to a bunch of 18-year-olds.

Manoah’s 2023 wasn’t just abysmal for his standards; it was flat out embarrassing. He did end up working his way back up to the major-league level, but the struggles continued and he was eventually shut down for the season due to injuries.

It’s really difficult to put a finger on why Alek Manoah struggled so mightily this year, and it’s more than just injury or any one thing. He’s got some serious self-reflection to do this offseason, and the Blue Jays don’t appear interested in seeing if he can bounce back.

I’m not sure what it would take for a team to pry Alek Manoah away from Toronto, but his value has never been lower. I can’t imagine it would be very much, and he may be worth a flier. He’s a year removed from being one of the game’s elite pitchers, will be 26 next season, and is under contract through 2027. If Manoah can somehow regain his form, whoever trades for him will look like a genius.

Photo: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire

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