Should the Pittsburgh Pirates consider going after Alek Manoah?

Should the Pirates consider purusing a trade for Alek Manoah if the Toronto Blue Jays are willing to sell low on their former Cy Young candidate?
Los Angeles Angels v Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Angels v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
3 of 4

Why the Pirates shouldn't consider going after Manoah

I mean, Manoah's performance speaks for itself. An ERA approaching 6.00, a FIP over 6.00, he was awful in 2023. Even in 2021 and 2022, his underlying ERA estimators weren't great. He had a 4.05 xFIP, 3.85 SIERA, and a league average DRA-. Is this someone the Pirates want to call on, even in a depth situation? Eric Lauer or Domingo German could probably post an ERA below 6.00. That's not a full guarantee from Manoah.

Yes, it was only one bad year in less than 100 innings pitched, but he's looked worse since getting sent down to the minor leagues. He pitched 7.2 innings last year after getting demoted, allowing 13 earned runs, five walks, two home runs, and striking out 13 batters. In two minor league starts this year, he has pitched just five innings, allowing 10 runs on 13 hits while walking five.

There's also other issues that don't even pertain to his on-field performance. Manoah reportedly came into 2023 Spring Training weighing 320 pounds. In his defense, he came into Spring Training 2024 looking much healthier, but there's other issues that need to be addressed. Manoah reportedly refused to report to Triple-A when the Jays attempted to option him.

Finally, where would he fit on the roster? The Pirates would have to send him to Triple-A. At the time of writing this, Pirates starters have reeled off seven straight quality starts (at least six innings of work with three or fewer earned runs). Four of those starts include no walks allowed. Josh Fleming has been excellent as the Bucs' multi-inning reliever this year. Aside from David Bednar having some poor command to start the year, the bullpen has been pretty good for the most part.