6 Blue Jays whose future with the club hangs in the balance during spring training

Which players on the Jays’ roster could have their roles on the team on the line based on their spring performances?

Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays
Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays / Cole Burston/GettyImages
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Alek Manoah

Finally, there’s no one whose future could be on the line with the club more than ex-ace Alek Manoah. After posting Cy Young-calibre numbers in 2022, the big right-hander was looking to do more of the same and more in his follow-up season. However, 2023 turned out to be a complete write-off for him where he essentially lost total control of his command of his pitches. In the end, the 26-year-old posted a 3-9 losing record, along with an unsightly 5.87 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, giving up 57 earned runs, 15 home runs, an astounding 59 walks and 79 strikeouts in just 87.1 innings pitched.

In doing so, he was even demoted to the minors to work on his pitching mechanics, with hopes to regain his prior form and dominance. However, the valuable time spent did little in helping Manoah, as he experienced the same inconsistency upon his return to the club in July. Eventually, he was sent down a second time and was ultimately shut down for the season. Despite the down season, GM Ross Atkins still firmly believed that Manoah could still be a strong viable option in the rotation for 2024 and could bounce back in a big way.

However, things certainly have not gone the way Manoah wanted this spring training. In his first start, his wildness from last season quickly resurfaced as he gave up 4 runs on 3 hits, including 3 hit-batsmen in just 1.2 innings of work. Even more worrisome was the fact that he experienced right shoulder soreness during a bullpen session that caused him to miss his next scheduled start this past weekend. He is already behind the eight ball in needing to produce some encouraging positive results to even be considered an option in the starting rotation for the Jays this year. If he ends up missing any significant amount of time with his current injury, even if just a couple of weeks, it could severely hinder the assessment of where his abilities are at the moment, making him a huge question mark when the regular season rolls around. Hopefully, Manoah can recover quickly and show everyone once again why he was one of the best in the business just two years ago. Otherwise, his future role on the team could be in dire straits going forward.