It’s probably safe to assume Alek Manoah and Gerrit Cole won’t be sharing a clubhouse anytime soon.
Manoah made headlines Monday when the Toronto Blue Jays ace unloaded on Cole, calling the New York Yankees superstar the worst cheaters in baseball history.
Manoah made the accusation on former NBA player Serge Ibaka’s “How Hungry Are You?” show for Sportsnet when Ibaka asked him who was the worst cheater in baseball history.
You could almost see the wheels spinning in Manoah’s head before ultimately letting it fly and saying Cole’s name while smiling.
“He cheated, he used a lot of, like, sticky stuff to make his pitches better, and he kind of got called out on it,” Manoah told Ibaka.
Ibaka asks the question at the 1:37 mark in the video below.
Cole, of course, essentially was the poster child for MLB pitchers’ use of foreign substances like “Spider Tack,” in an effort to improve grip and increase spin rate. Over the course of two seasons with Houston in 2018 and 2019, Cole was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. He averaged 13 strikeouts per nine innings to go along with an ERA+ of 164 (100 is league average) and parlayed that into a record-setting nine-year, $324 million contract with the Yankees.
Baseball cracked down on the sticky stuff midway through the 2021 season. Since then, Cole has a 3.69 ERA in just over 292 innings while striking out just under 12 per batters per nine innings. He’s still striking out batters at a high rate, but he certainly is getting hit harder than he was in Houston. Cole allowed a league-high 33 home runs with a 111 ERA+ that was his highest since his final season with Pittsburgh.
When MLB made that decision, Cole was roundly mocked for his weirdly emotional response to the news in wake of multiple accusations and rampant speculation about him being one of baseball’s worst offenders.
As for the Manoah-Cole beef, this is not the first time the two have crossed paths. Cole took exception with Manoah hitting Aaron Judge with a pitch in August and had to be held back as some players spilled out onto the field.
After that game, Manoah told reporters “If Gerrit wants to do something, he can walk past the Audi sign (and go to the mound) next time.”
We won’t have to wait long for the Blue Jays and Yankees to renew this little rivalry. Toronto heads to New York on April 21 for a three-game series in the Bronx.