After Monday evening’s disastrous start, the Blue Jays decided that Alek Manoah would be best served if he was sent down to the Florida Complex League where he can access the club’s pitching lab in an attempt to reboot his season.
ROSTER MOVES:— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 6, 2023
RHP Chris Bassitt reinstated from Paternity List
INF Santiago Espinal reinstated from 10-day IL
RHP Bowden Francis selected to Major League Roster
RHP Jay Jackson and INF Ernie Clement optioned to Triple-A
RHP Alek Manoah optioned to Florida… pic.twitter.com/r4rtfqzboV
The 25-year-old right hander had a straight upward trajectory in the minor leagues after he was selected in the first round of the 2019 draft, making the major leagues in 2021 after nine minor league starts, becoming an American League all-star and starting in the postseason in 2022, but ricocheted after bouncing off the ceiling this year. Failing for the first time in the major leagues and going from such highs to such lows must be incredibly tough.
Time at the Complex will hopefully allow Manoah to work on his issues under the eyes of a fresh set of coaches and trainers and away from the pressure of fans and media. Manoah’s assignment there instead of to triple-A Buffalo indicates that this is not a short-term optional assignment and that he will likely spend at least a couple of months in the minor leagues.
Replacing Manoah on the active roster—and presumably, in the rotation—is 27-year-old Bowden Francis, who was scheduled to start for the triple-A Bisons today (Thomas Hatch will open the game in his place). Francis came over to Toronto with Trevor Richards in the Rowdy Tellez trade and had a single outing with the major league club before he was outrighted almost a year ago. He has been the strongest of a very weak cohort of starters in the upper minor leagues and it is probably unhealthy to consider the Blue Jays’ next starting option especially as Drew Hutchison was released last week and Zach Thompson was designated for assignment to make a 40-man roster spot for Francis. Thompson was acquired from the Pirates just before spring training in exchange for Chavez Young and has struggled for the Bisons, so there is a chance he gets through outright waivers to keep Buffalo from having to keep doing bullpen days.
In other moves, Chris Bassitt has been reinstated from the paternity list and Santiago Espinal has returned to the active roster from the injured list after three rehab games for the Dunedin Blue Jays. Going the other way are Ernie Clement and Jay Jackson, who were optioned to Buffalo.
Espinal will start at third base tonight and bat ninth as Matt Chapman is dealing with an infected ingrown toenail.