The Oakland A’s simply do not sign top free agents. This likely means that Sean Manaea would be out the door anyway after the 2022 season.
Manaea bounced back from an up and down 2020 season to put together a solid year in 2021. He posted a 3.94 ERA and a 1.227 WHiP in his 179.1 innings, striking out 194 batters with 41 walks. He also established himself as what passes for a workhorse these days, leading the American League in games started, complete games, and shutouts.
He should also see a solid increase in salary next year. Manaea had made $5.95 million coming off of a disappointing season, and while his performance last year was not great, it was certainly respectable. That increase is also likely to put him beyond the A’s comfort level in terms of spending.
While Manaea is not an ace, he is a solid middle of the rotation arm. He is the type of pitcher that a team looking to contend could use, a solid third starter who may be somewhat inconsistent, but can dominate on any given night. That type of pitcher would generate plenty of interest in the trade market.
Sean Manaea has one year of team control left. Even without the mandate to limit payroll, the Oakland A’s may have looked to deal him anyway.