All throughout this offseason, Alek Manoah has routinely found his name in trade rumors. The big right-hander was one of the best pitchers in the game in 2022, but came crashing back down to Earth last year. This led to multiple demotions to the minor leagues that created a tense relationship, which led to the bevy of trade rumors.
Both the Angels and Cardinals have both been confirmed to be interested in trading for him, but rumor has it that the Jays were asking for a return based on his upside rather than the results he posted in 2023.
MLB Network's Jon Morosi is now saying (X link) that the Blue Jays are turning away interested parties, saying that they have no desire to move him in a trade. This suggests that as of right now, the plan is for him to be a part of the club's Opening Day rotation.
Just 365 days ago, the question wasn't whether he'd make the rotation or not, but rather if he'd be the No. 1 or No. 2 starter on this staff alongside Kevin Gausman. Oh, how things can change over the course of a year.
For Manoah, his 19-start showing last year went just about as poorly as it could have gone. The 26-year-old had previously been full of swagger and confidence on the mound, but that was nowhere to be seen throughout the entirety of the 2023 campaign. Instead, we saw a sluggish, defeated version of him. It's easy to see why demotions to the minor leagues didn't sit right with him, but with the numbers he was putting up, the Blue Jays had to make these moves.
Manoah and his representatives have been completely silent throughout the entire ordeal. Not once has he, or his agent, made a public statement about what exactly went down last year. All we know is that he posted a 5.87 ERA in 19 starts with over 6 walks per nine innings. It was practically batting practice for the other team every time Manoah took the mound.
However, this is a pitcher full of upside. We've already seen what he can do when he's at the top of his game. This was undoubtedly taken into consideration by the Blue Jays' decision makers while engaging in trade talks.
Manoah's been posting videos on social media of himself working out throughout the offseason and appears to be in much better shape than he was last season, so the hype is beginning to build once again. If he can regain some of his 2022 form, there's no telling how far he'd take a starting rotation that has become one of the very best in baseball over the past year.