The Los Angeles Angels need to upgrade their rotation. That's not a secret. After a promising year on the mound in 2022, Angels starters took a massive step back this past season, finishing in the bottom half of starting pitcher ERA. Whether Shohei Ohtani stays or not, the Angels still need to fortify the rotation as Shohei won't be able to pitch in 2024.
An ideal way for the Angels to do this would be through free agency, as the team lacks the assets necessary to land a legitimate ace and should have money to spend. As appealing as it might be to acquire an ace for nothing but money, contracts require both sides to agree. Players might not want to come to an Angels team that has failed to make the postseason for nine straight seasons.
While the Angels don't have the assets to land pitchers like Corbin Burnes or Dylan Cease, they do have the assets necessary to land a pitcher who was once elite but is coming off a dreadful year.
An Alek Manoah trade would be a worthwhile risk for the LA Angels to take
Alek Manoah was considered one of the bright young stars in the game just one year ago. He was an AL Cy Young finalist in 2022 in what was his first full MLB season. He looked like he'd be Toronto's ace for a long time before a miserable 2023 season went down. Manoah's ERA approached 6.00, and he was sent down to the minors multiple times.
Following Manoah's terrible year, the Blue Jays are reportedly "open" to dealing the right-hander according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required). If the Jays are indeed willing to part from Manoah at his absolute lowest value, the Angels should jump at the opportunity.
The right-hander is just 25 years old with four more years of team control. Yes, he hasn't even hit arbitration yet. The Blue Jays would be selling Manoah incredibly low, meaning the Angels would have what it takes to get a deal done.
Adding Manoah would involve some sort of risk. They'd have to trade for him and hope he resembles something like the pitcher he once was, or else the deal will be a bust. He obviously can't be putting up ERA's north of 5.00. However, Manoah wouldn't have to be a Cy Young finalist or even an all-star for a trade to work in the Angels favor. He just has to be a solid starter.
Manoah fitting into the middle of the rotation for now with obvious upside would be a tremendous addition, especially when his value is low. I'm not convinced Toronto moves off from him but if they do, the Angels must call.