#5 - Alek Manoah (Toronto Blue Jays)
This list has a lot to do with the upside that each of these pitchers offer as well as the price it will take to acquire them. Alek Manoah is by far the biggest wild card on this list, but the rumored asking price is crazy low (and for good reason).
Manoah made headlines this year for being just plain awful for the Blue Jays, eventually being sent all the way down to their instructional league to figure out what was going on. In 2022, he finished third in AL Cy Young Voting with a 2.24 ERA in 196.2 innings of work. During his rookie season in 2021, he made 20 starts with a 3.22 ERA. Manoah was one of the best young pitchers in baseball when he first came up but somehow seems to have lost that ability at this moment.
It's been reported by multiple MLB insiders that the Cardinals and Blue Jays may line up for a Manoah trade, with the Cardinals giving up Dylan Carlson to make the deal happen.
Carlson hasn't had the steep decline that Manoah has, but since the 2022 trade deadline, his stock has plummeted significantly. The switch-hitting outfielder hit just .219/.318/.333 in 76 games for the Cardinals, battling different injuries throughout the year and eventually having season-ending ankle surgery.
At just 25 years old, he still had the potential to be a significant contributor for a Major League ballclub, so a change of scenery could do him well. The same could be said of Manoah, which makes them intriguing candidates to be swapped in a trade.
Should the Cardinals trade for Manoah, he does not hit arbitration until next offseason, so he would be coming on a cheap salary. He should be nothing more than a bounce-back candidate for the back end of the rotation but would have the upside to slot in as a number one or number two if he gets back to his form before the 2023 season.