As is the case with any pitcher, even the ones that had great seasons, there are risks involved.
First off, there is no way to know for sure if 2023 was just an outlier or if it was a sign of things to come for Manoah. His stats this year were obviously not good, and if the Cardinals trade for him and he has another season like this, the deal will have not panned out the way they had hoped.
Another thing to keep in mind is that since 2021, while he has averaged plenty of strikeouts per nine innings, his K rate has decreased each year. The Cardinals really need guys with high swing-and-miss rates, and while Manoah could provide that, the fact that his K rate has declined a bit each year is something to keep an eye on. Manoah also averaged 9.6 hits allowed per nine innings, which is a stark contrast from 2022.
There also is always the chance that Carlson or O'Neill could finally put it together with the Blue Jays, creating yet another Randy Arozarena and Adolis Garcia-type situation. John Mozeliak needs to be careful not to repeat that mistake.
I'm kind of torn on this. There are positives and negatives that need to be taken into account here, which we have now outlined. I always say that the Cardinals need guys who can provide certainty and stability in their rotation.
Manoah had a bad 2023 season, but he provided those things in 2021 and 2022, so he has a good track record. I was against this at first, but the more I've thought about it, the more I like it. And if I had to choose, I would say that this is definitely a move the Cardinals could benefit from.
I think there are better options. But when you look at the situation, there's much less of a risk than signing somebody like Lance Lynn or Frankie Montas. And with Manoah still just 25, he likely still has several good years left in him.