This one might be the closest to "hot take" territory we get here, but it feels like Alek Manoah has already thrown his last pitch in a Blue Jays uniform. The right-hander was easily the club's best arm in 2022, finishing third in the AL Cy Young voting with a sparkling 2.24 ERA, but regressed in a major way this year.
The 25-year-old managed to make just 19 starts for the Blue Jays before things really began to go wrong. When he was demoted to the Florida Complex League, it felt like that was the best move for him, as it gave him an opportunity to rebuild his value and retool his mechanics outside of the spotlight. He made just one start there and one in Double-A before he was thrown back out on a big league mound. This was a major mistake by the Jays, and when he was demoted to Triple-A a few outings later, his season practically ended then and there.
Upon his second demotion of the season, Manoah "stayed behind in Toronto to undergo some medical tests" rather than immediately reporting to Triple-A Buffalo. BNS has a story out on some of the actual events that transpired, and multiple sources close to the situation have also confirmed to Jays Journal that this story was fabricated by the organization and was entirely untrue. In reality, Manoah essentially left the team hanging, disappearing without any contact with the organization and effectively refusing to report to the minors again. The general concensus inside the organization is that he felt he was "too good" to waste away in the minor leagues.
Is there really any more to say on this? Multiple players I have spoken to about the situation have danced around any real answers, not directly saying they approve or disapprove of Manoah's antics, but one would think that most of the players on the Buffalo Bisons would be frustrated hearing that someone feels they're above playing at the level they've been busting their butts off all year in. Furthermore, Manoah's representation politely declined my request for comment on the situation, so this story is going to be labeled with a big question mark for the foreseeable future.