Should the Rockies call the Blue Jays about Alek Manoah?

The Blue Jays have stated that they don't intend on trading Manoah, but as the Rockies struggled to develop pitching, should the Rockies try and acquire the former ace?
Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

There is no question that the Rockies have struggled to find, develop and retain starting pitchers, especially over the last 10 or 15 years. The have developed guys like Ubaldo Jimenez, Kyle Freeland and Jon Gray, but Gray signed with the Rangers, Jimenez was traded to the Guardians just entering his prime and Freeland has been more of a number three or four starter versus an ace. They have done a good job at targeting high upside pitching in trades and drafts recently, but now they need to hope that they can develop it.

Why not go and get a buy-low candidate and former ace?

On Thursday, Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweeted that the Blue Jays don't expect to trade Manoah, and that he will be a part of their 2024 rotation. He was really good in 2022 but had one of the worst seasons in 2023 and was sent down to the minor leagues. He has taken his training a lot more serious this offseason and it has been made public. Fansided's own, Curt Bishop, was skeptical about the timing of these two rumors coinciding. Could the Blue Jays have released the workout videos to try and drive up the price of Manoah? Possibly, but regardless, the Rockies should look into the cost to acquire the former Blue Jay ace.

Manoah was one of the best pitchers in the game in 2022, throwing 196.2 innings with a 2.24 ERA and he dominated the zone with a 8.2 K/9 and a 2.3 BB/9. This was just his age 24 season and he looked ready to become an perrenial cy young award contender. Then he was just awful in 2023, throwing just 87.1 innings over 19 starts, with his ERA skyrocketing to 5.87. The big issue was his command as his walk rate was at 6.1 per nine. There were some questions about his attitude and commitment during this year, but there is no denying that he has legit, ace potential.

The Rockies should explore this trade as someone that, if he can regain his 2022 form, would give the Rockies the best pitcher they have had in quite a while. Manoah is just 26 and in his last year of pre-arbitration, before getting three years of arbitration. Manoah could give the Rockies a potential ace that could lead this team when some of your younger prospects make their debut.

The cost to acquire Manoah is hard because he is just 26 and has had an elite year, but he is coming off a really bad year; this makes a trade unlikely. The Brewers got a pretty decent return for one year of Corbin Burnes (not that Manoah has the same trade value) so maybe the Blue Jays will listen if the offer is right. The 2023 season looks to be Manoah's outlier, so the Blue Jays would value him as a 26-year-old ace level pitcher, while the Rockies would approach it as a pitcher that has struggled with attitude and commitment and is coming off a bad year.

The Blue Jays would probably value more major league ready help as well, which the Rockies don't have a lot to offer up. If the Rockies were serious, and the Blue Jays would listen they might be able to work something out with a reliever like Lawrence or Gilbreath. They might be able to get it done with one of those relievers and a prospect like a Warming Bernabel or maybe the Comp pick this year. The trade would be hard to figure out and could vary quite a bit, but adding an ace like Manoah to this staff could prove fruitful over the next three-to-five years.

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