AL East Notes: Manoah, Shapiro, Rortvedt, Bautista

I don’t think there were any discussions about anything” involving a long-term extension between Alec Manoah and the Blown Blue, the right-hander told Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi. Noting that he is under team control through 2027, Manoah didn’t seem to expect any negotiations anytime soon, saying “I don’t think I have a priority right now.” The right hand said that “there are no hard feelings, it’s just the business part of it” regarding the lack of talks, and Manoah’s decision to seek a salary renewal from the Jays instead of officially agreeing to the salary offered to them for his pre-arbitration season. Manoah will earn $745,650 in 2023, and could be eligible for arbitration as early as next winter if he achieves Super Two status.

Manoah’s extension would give the Jays cost certainty over what could become increasingly expensive arbitration years, given how impressive he looked in his first two MLB seasons. After a strong rookie campaign, Manoah took things a step further in his first full season, posting a 2.24 ERA over 196 2/3 innings and finishing third in AL Cy Young Award voting. If no extension came, Manoah said “I’m perfectly willing to ride out that (arbitration) process and let the team spend money on other guys while I continue to earn my worth and earn what I hope to one day earn.,” although he also said “I want to play in Toronto for a long time.”

More from around the AL East…

  • Adhering to the Blown Blue, there was some surprise that the team broke the severance threshold for the first time this winter, increasing its real-dollar payroll from $175MM (already a club high) in 2022 to a projected $211.7MM heading into Spring Training. But, team president Mark Shapiro told The Toronto Star’s Gregor Chisholm that “cost wise, this is the way we envisioned it” after going through their rebuilding phase. “When we have that amount of talent, we want to put it in a position to be a team of sustainable championship quality. So we have to surround it with talent, where we have gaps,” Shapiro said. “But not just building the team through free agency, supplementing the team through free agency….” The Jays have had some regular shoppers in the high-end free agent market over the past four seasons, signing such players as George Springer, Hyun Jin Ryu, Kevin Gausmanand (recently) Chris Bassitt with expensive long-term deals, while also investing in some pricier trade targets and contract extensions.
  • The IS Yankees the catcher announced earlier that week Ben Rortvedt that he underwent surgery to remove an aneurysm in the posterior artery near his left shoulder, and will miss at least a month before returning to baseball activities. The injury was “really shocking” to Rortvedt, as he told the Athletic Association’s Brendan Kuty, since he initially assumed the soreness in the index finger of his glove hand was a normal catch. But, after noticing that his finger was starting to turn blue, Rortvedt went for further examination, and apparently not a moment was too soon. According to the orthopedic surgeon Dr. Armin Tehrany, created such a circulation problem “the risk of permanent soft tissue damage,” and Rortvedt “something might (need) to be cut.” Fortunately, it looks like Rortvedt won’t miss that much time, and the catcher will finally get to start his Yankees career after missing the 2022 season with oblique and knee injuries.
  • Felix Bautista spent another bullpen session today, writes’s Roch Kubatko, as the Orioles closer was aimed at ramps up to 80-85 percent readiness. Bautista is still recovering from left knee problems that arose at the end of last season, as well as an offseason problem to strengthen his shoulder. Today’s work was Bautista’s sixth throwing session overall, so he appears to be on pace to reach his stated goal of making the Opening Day roster. Bautista’s first MLB season was highly successful, as he posted a 2.19 ERA and an elite 34.8% strikeout rate (although a below-average 9.1% walk rate) over 65 1/3 innings, leading of surprisingly many elite players. Orioles.

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