3) The San Diego Padres should demand Alek Manoah in a Juan Soto trade with the Blue Jays
Nothing about Alek Manoah's 2023 season was encouraging. He had a 5.87 ERA in 19 starts, was demoted to the minors multiple times, and ended his season injured. Despite the dreadful year he just had, he's a player the Padres should want back for his upside.
Manoah's 2022 season saw him finish as an AL Cy Young finalist, which makes his rough year this past season more surprising. Manoah looked like one of the bright young stars in the game prior to his meltdown this past season. Perhaps a change of scenery can help.
In a Yankees package, the Padres are said to be seeking arms like Clarke Schmidt, Randy Vasquez, and Jhonny Brito. There's nothing wrong with San Diego wanting them, especially with how their rotation looks right now, but they're nothing more than fourth or fifth starters at best. While Manoah's floor is obviously awful, his ceiling is one the Padres should bank on.
No, Manoah cannot be a headliner, but he'd be a much more appealing part of a package than players without his ace potential. At just 25 years old, there are more reasons to believe Manoah will bounce back in a different situation than assuming someone with his talent is just finished as a MLB pitcher. He has four years of control, giving him a lot of time to prove himself to the Padres if they did acquire him.