Alek Manoah's return could have major impact on Yariel Rodriguez moving forward

Apr 13, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;  Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Yariel Rodriguez (29)
Apr 13, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Yariel Rodriguez (29) / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

With Alek Manoah ramping up the starts in Triple-A and hoping for a return to the major leagues sooner rather than later, his return could have an impact on the Blue Jays newest starter.

Manoah hasn't pitched in the major leagues since August 10th of last year where he gave up four earned runs in four innings pitched in a start against the Cleveland Guardians. After struggling heavily throughout last season, and already having spent time in the minors, Manoah was promptly optioned back down to Buffalo just a day after his start in Cleveland, although he never ended up pitching a game for the Bisons.

Fans and front office alike were hoping for a resurgence this season from the 2022 Cy Young award finalist, but the right hander hasn't started a game in the majors thus far this season after dealing with shoulder issues in Spring Training and being sent to the minors for rehab.

According to Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic, the Blue Jays "have maintained Manoah is a starter, and they still view him as somebody who can throw 100-plus pitches per start".

Should Manoah come back to the big leagues, which he is likely to be given the chance to, Yariel Rodriguez would move to the bullpen, with the possibility of him rejoinining the rotation if Manoah doesn't perform.

The Blue Jays signed Rodriguez to a five-year, $32M deal this past offseason and it was unclear at the time whether he would be used as a starter or a multi inning reliever. It appears, about a month into the season, the Blue Jays themselves are still trying to figure that out as well.

Manoah, on the other hand, gave fans some optimism a couple starts ago in AAA Buffalo, going 5.2 innings, giving up only two earned runs, allowing 6 hits, and most importantly, not walking a single batter. But any optimism from that start was quickly erased last night, as the righty went only 3 innings, allowing six earned runs, seven hits, two homeruns, and walking four batters. John Schneider called the start, "not ideal".

Manoah will need to produce better results before any real conversations of him ovetaking Rodriguez for the fifth spot in the rotation.