Sean Manaea opted out of his contract with the San Francisco Giants, forgoing $12.5-million in order to test free agency.
By doing so, it's safe to assume that Manaea will be looking to find his footing as a starter. Manaea started 10 games for the Giants last season, but also appeared in 27 games as a reliever; most often going multiple innings.
With so many young pitchers on the Cincinnati Reds roster, should president of baseball operations Nick Krall take a flier on a piggyback-starter like Manaea?
Should the Reds sign a piggyback-starter like Sean Manaea?
The overwhelming majority of the Cincinnati Reds fanbase wants to see the club secure a frontline starter or two this offseason. The cold-hard truth of the matter is that most fans throughout Reds Country have been around long enough to know that's not going to happen.
Furthermore, despite the fact that Cincinnnati has an abundance payroll flexibility heading into 2024, the team is unlikely to unload $20-million or more per season for a pitcher like Sonny Gray or Aaron Nola.
While money is certainly part of the equation, the opportunity to start is also a powerful incentive for these middle-of-the-road pitchers. Players like Michael Lorenzen, Nick Martinez, and Sean Manaea occupied a hybrid role in 2023 - seeing time as both a starter and reliever.
This could work in the Reds favor. Pitchers like Manaea could be used to start a game, log four-plus innings, and then be replaced by a pitcher like Brandon Williamson or Andrew Abbott. Think of it as a six-man starting rotation with the ability to rest your bullpen one day per week.
Reds Starting Rotation
Hunter Greene, RHP
Nick Lodolo, LHP
Graham Ashcraft, RHP
Brandon Williamson, LHP
Sean Manaea, LHP/ Andrew Abbott, LHP
In essense, the Cincinnati Reds would be using a pitcher like Abbott, Williamson, or Phillips as a designated long reliever to pitch 4-plus innings every fifth day.
With so many managers fearing the third time through the opposing team's batting order, securing the services of a piggyback starter like Manaea could fit this Cincinnati Reds team quite nicely.
Sean Manaea was 7-6 with a 4.44 ERA last season. The southpaw posted a 25.7-percent strikeout-rate and has historically kept his walk-rate to a minimum.