Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Toronto Blue Jays woefully thin in starting pitching

Alek Manoah

"Toronto’s pitching depth offers no hero, no knight in shining armor to ride in and save the day. Only Manoah can do that, which will take work. Now, it’s a question of where that work happens."

- Keegen Matheson, MLB News

It was bound to happen.  The chickens have come home to roost.  Alek Manoah's struggles have highlighted the Toronto Blue Jays' lack of pitching depth among starters. This problem has been obvious for quite a while and has not been satisfactorily addressed by Blue Jays' General Manage Ross Atkins.  Atkins, as GM, should be held accountable for allowing this to happen.

This season's Blue Jays have proven that the old saw is true.  You can never have enough pitching.  Even if Manoah had played well so far, the Jays would still not have had enough reliable starters.  They have been lucky that there hasn't been any serious injuries among the starters yet.  However, it's only June and there is a long way to go.  It is inevitable that there will be injuries.  What then?  It won't be pretty.

The Jays have been laser focused on building a strong defensive outfield.  They've done so.  However, the outfield hasn't made up for the lack of depth in starting pitching.  It is clear that this approach has not made up for the lack of reliable and consistent starters.

The Jays didn.t expect Alek Manoah to flame out.  They weren't prepared for this to happen, and now they are suffering the consequences.  It seems as if they will have to send Manoah down to Triple-A so that he can straighten himself out. 

Manoah's struggles are difficult for the man himself, who feels like he has let the team down.  He is understandably dejected.  Monday night, he recorded only one out.  He was removed from the game after allowing sis runs on seven hits, including a grand slam, in the Jays' 11-4 loss to the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre.  

Unfortunately, Manoah's struggles do not bode well for the Blue Jays.  There is no one to adequately replace him in the starting rotation.  Hyun-jin-Ryu is expected to return  after undergoing Tommy John surgery, in time for a playoff run - if the Jays even make  it to the post season, which seems less and less likely.  So, Ryu will not solve the problem.  There is simply no one who can  eat up as many innings as Manoah did last season.  This only means more pressure on the bullpen. There are no easy answers.  The rest of the 2022-23 seasons hangs in the balance.

- Joanne

EDITOR'S UPDATE:  On Tuesday, June 6, 2023, the Toronto Blue Jays optioned Alek Manoah to the rookie-level Florida  Complex League.  There is no timeline as to how long he will remain in the minors.