Before the start of the 2023 season, there were some questions about the Jays starting rotation. José Berríos and Yusei Kikuchi were the source of most of the uncertainties.
Both pitchers rebounded with rock-solid performances in 2023 to give the unit one of the most stable quartets of starters in the majors. However, Alek Manoah stumbled badly, was demoted twice, and appeared to be at odds with the organization.
The 25-year-old was married recently and seems poised to attempt to return to his old self. Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins recently remarked that Manaoah at least deserves to be part of the competition for a rotation spot.
That’s fine, but they should bring in some arms to give him a bit of stiff competition. Marcus Stroman spent half a decade in Toronto and enjoyed some of his best successes there. He’s previously commented that he’d be open to a reunion in the right situation.
If Stroman signed a contract with the Jays, it would push Manaoh to a depth piece or inspire the team to trade the fallen star. Another arm who could be brought in is James Paxton. The 35-year-old is coming off-season with the Red Sox be looked at as a step in the right direction.
The lefty pitched to a 4.50 ERA over 96 innings of work, the most time he’s spent on a mound since 2019. He’d be an immediate fan favorite as a native Canadian and was first drafted by the franchise in 2009, although he did not sign.