In a recent interview on TSN 1050’s First Up show, baseball analyst Buster Olney shared insights into the ongoing saga surrounding Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah.
The young pitcher’s career appears to be at a crossroads following a demotion to Triple-A Buffalo Bisons on August 11st, a move that did not sit well with Manoah.
“He reacted negatively to being sent down,” Olney revealed, confirming reports that Manoah did not report to the minor league team after his demotion.
Olney went on to express his concerns about Manoah’s decision, stating: “Every year there are literally dozens of players who get sent down and don’t agree with the decision, but they get on the bus, get on the plane, they go down, they report to go to work to prove the team wrong.”
“This is a bad career move for Manoah.”
Manoah, who had an impressive rookie season in 2022, finishing third in the American League Cy Young voting, struggled significantly in 2023. His ERA ballooned to 5.87 in 19 starts, with 79 strikeouts against 59 walks in 87.1 innings pitched.
Alek Manoah never reported to Triple-A when he was optioned on August 11th because he was upset about the decision, per @SNJeffBlair
Manoah reportedly has not even been throwing bullpens or side sessions. It’s unlikely that he’ll pitch in a game again this year pic.twitter.com/P6y3Bw5xwD
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) September 12, 2023
“It was actually a few weeks ago that the Blue Jays knew he was not going to pitch again this year,” Olney noted.
The turning point in Manoah’s season came on June 5th when he was shelled for six earned runs in just a third of an inning against the Houston Astros, leading to his initial demotion to rookie ball.
Although he briefly showed promise with a successful return game against the Detroit Tigers, his performance took a nosedive, marked by a persistently high walk rate.
“They sort of cherry-picked his return start against the Detroit Tigers, one of the weakest offensive teams in baseball, probably to try to build some confidence, and after that first good look, it was all downhill from there,” Olney said.
Olney expressed concern over Manoah’s decision to resist the demotion, stating: “I don’t know if this is Manoah, I don’t know if it’s advice he’s getting, but I don’t know in any sport where it’s a good idea to just shut down.”
Currently, Manoah ranks third lowest in the league for walks per nine innings among pitchers with at least 80 innings pitched this season, ahead of only Michael Kopech and Touki Toussaint.
When questioned about the possibility of a trade, Olney suggested that it’s highly unlikely at this juncture, emphasizing that Manoah’s value is currently at its “rock bottom.”
He added, “The [Jays] love his presence on the mound when he’s out there, he’s fun to watch, but they have to wait for him to get a reality check about where he is in his career.”
What is your take on the Manoah situation?