Blue Jays: Alek Manoah turned down invite to 2023 World Baseball Classic
Monday morning Blue Jays beat writer Rob Longley relayed that Alek Manoah had turned down a chance to pitch for Team USA this Spring.
Manoah stated the reason for him not wanting to pitch at the World Baseball Classic was that he didn’t want anything to hamper him late in the season, stating, “the way the season ended I didn’t be in late September with 20 more innings under my belt. It’s not fair to these guys”.
Since watching Manoah rise to the majors he has appeared to be an ultimate team-first battler and this speaks volumes about his commitment to the Blue Jays. One may wonder if the WBC would make any difference compared to Spring Training. Longley answered this type of question well in the Twitter feed, stating, "yes it can be. You have to get prepared earlier. Now the focus is on end of March rather than beginning of March."
Many wondered how the former first round pick would handle the much heavier workload he had in 2022 as he creeped near 200 innings last season. Manoah had his finished the season with 196.2 innings, which was an increase of 67 innings from his previous high a season prior. He put any doubt to mind as his best pitching of the season came over his final eight starts of the year and into late September. During those final appearances, Manoah went 4-1 with a 1.00 ERA over 54 innings, striking out 49 and allowing just two home runs.
Manoah finished the season with a 16-7 record and a 2.24 ERA which was the second lowest Earned Run Average by a starting pitcher in team history. The 6-foot-6 behemoth finished third in AL Cy Young voting and appears to be setting his sites on finishing with more than 200 innings for the first time in his career. Moreover, Manoah speaks about not wanting innings at the World Baseball Classic to a cause anything but his best late in the season. This speaks to his desire to be a there for the rest of his teammates.