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The Toronto Blue Jays announced Tuesday they optioned starting pitcher Alek Manoah to the Florida Complex League.
The move comes after he allowed six earned runs and seven hits over 0.1 inning in Monday’s 11-4 loss to the Houston Astros.
The 25-year-old right-hander was an All-Star and finished third in the American League Cy Young voting in 2022. Tuesday’s decision reflects how his performance in 2023 has fallen off dramatically.
Through 13 starts, Manoah is 1-7 with a 6.36 ERA and a 6.52 FIP. He’s allowing 10.6 hits and 6.5 walks per nine innings. According to Baseball Savant, opposing hitters are slugging .496 and have a .394 expected wOBA when he’s on the mound.
At 33-28, the Blue Jays are 9.5 games back of the first-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East, and they’re three games off the final wild-card spot. Toronto isn’t in a position where it could afford to keep sending Manoah out there in the hope something finally clicks.
Following Tuesday’s defeat, Keegan Matheson of MLB.com floated three ways to potentially get the right-hander back on track.
Matheson described one path as the “the Roy Halladay treatment,” a reference to how Halladay started the 2001 season in High-A before working his way back to the majors. By 2002, Halladay was an All-Star, and he won his first of two Cy Youngs in 2003.
Keegan Matheson @KeeganMatheson
Sending Alek Manoah to the complex league is easy to call “the Roy Halladay treatment”, but again, they’re very different pitchers and situations.
In Dunedin, Manoah will be able to use the complex, the pitching lab and the million other resources.
This is a full, total reset.
Along the same lines, Cliff Lee famously used his 2007 demotion to the minor leagues to alter his approach, which transformed him into a dominant ace.
Sending Manoah to their complex in Dunedin, Florida, seems to demonstrate a belief within the Blue Jays his issues go beyond making a subtle mechanical tweak.
There’s no positive way to spin Tuesday’s news, but getting Manoah out of the limelight and affording him ample time to diagnose what’s wrong is probably the best thing at this point.