MLB rumors: Surprise trade partner could emerge for troubled Blue Jays star Alek Manoah

Alek Manoah had a shockingly disappointing season. But there may be a surprise team that could take the right-hander off the Toronto Blue Jays hands.

Toronto Blue Jays v Cleveland Guardians
Toronto Blue Jays v Cleveland Guardians / Lauren Leigh Bacho/GettyImages

The Toronto Blue Jays have a strong starting staff that features Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, and Chris Bassitt at the top.

However, it could have been stronger this past year if not for a disappointing season from right-hander Alek Manoah, who was supposed to be the team's ace. Manoah struggled so badly that he was optioned to the Florida Complex League. As such, his stock has fallen quite a bit.

But he is not too far removed from the 2022 season, a year in which he posted an ERA of 2.24 and won 16 games. That was enough to earn him the Game 1 start in the Wild Card Series against the Seattle Mariners, and he even drew the Opening Day start in St. Louis.

And as it turns out, the team who may be willing to take Manoah off the Blue Jays' hands is the St. Louis Cardinals.

MLB rumors: Cardinals targeting Alek Manoah

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are said to be interested in the former Blue Jays ace. St. Louis has plenty of bats that they could look to trade this offseason to acquire pitching. They need three starting pitchers.

Goold listed the Blue Jays as a team that the Cardinals could look to trade with as they search for pitching. Of course, the Cardinals will have to explore the trade market, as it will be difficult to add all three of their starters via free agency.

Manoah went 3-9 this season and had an ERA of 5.87. But he could be a candidate for a bounce-back season, and a change of scenery could potentially help him out. The young right-hander still averaged 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings, and St. Louis needs swing-and-miss pitching in their rotation.

Despite a down year, Manoah has ace potential. Given his downturn in 2023, his stock may not be as high, meaning that St. Louis could look to part with somebody like Alec Burleson, Dylan Carlson, Juan Yepez, or even Tyler O'Neill to add him.

This in turn would help alleviate the outfield logjam. St. Louis could then focus their efforts on adding two starters via free agency. If Manoah bounces back, then the Cardinals could have a strong rotation in 2024 as they try to bounce back into contention.

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