There has not been much information on former SF Giants lefty Sean Manaea since he opted out of the final year of his two-year deal. However, it appears that he is a popular option in a very healthy market for pitchers.
Former SF Giants hurler is a "popular" option in a healthy pitching market
On Monday, FanSided baseball insider Robert Murray and Adan Weinrib of the Baseball Insiders podcast mentioned that Manaea is poised to do well in free agency:
"Another guy that I have heard that is quite popular on the market is Sean Manaea. He is probably looking at a two or three-year contract with an opt out after year one... I think it could end up being a healthy AAV. "- Robert Murray
This year's market leaned heavily in favor of pitching with top names like Blake Snell, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Aaron Nola. Nola is already off of the market after returning to the Philadelphia Phillies on a seven-year, $172 million deal.
Manaea does not figure to earn nearly as much as those options, but it does sound like he has plenty of interested suitors. There was a question as to whether he would even opt out after posting a 4.44 ERA in 37 outings with the Giants in 2023.
However, he was much better in the second half of the year with a 3.43 ERA in 60.1 frames. Free agency tends to reward recent performance and the veteran pitcher picked the right time to put together a strong stretch of innings.
Interestingly, Manaea has appeared in eight seasons. Seven of those years were with Bob Melvin as manager with both the Oakland A's and the San Diego Padres. The 31-year-old vouched for Melvin even before the longtime manager was hired and before his own decision to opt out was made official.
Nevertheless, a return to the Giants appears unlikely. San Francisco is seeking a frontline starter and has been connected to some of the top names on the market including Yamamoto. Manaea does not fit that description.
Still, the eight-year veteran did seemingly turn his career back in the right direction in a Giants uniform. He was coming off of a rough season with the Padres in which he posted a 4.96 ERA in 30 appearances in 2022. That rough patch leaked into the 2023 season, but he found a way to finish the year on a positive note.
Manaea had one year and $12.5 million remaining on his deal before he opted out. If Murray's speculation turns out to be true, the left-handed pitcher could earn a deal in the neighborhood of three years with an average annual value of $12.5 million or more.