Decision Time: What should the Blue Jays do with Alek Manoah?

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If rock bottom exists, then Alek Manoah may have hit it in his most recent start for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Surely it can’t get much worse than the six earned runs Manoah allowed in only 1/3 of an inning against the Houston Astros, a performance which further ballooned his season ERA to 6.36 – just for reference, when Yusei Kikuchi was pulled from the starting rotation in August of last year, his ERA was 5.25.

With his struggles reaching prolific levels, the question has become, what should the Blue Jays do with Alek Manoah?

Let’s take a look at the options …

What do the Blue Jays do with Alek Manoah?

Option 1: Phantom IL stint

It’s more than statistics with Manoah right now. Particularly in his past two starts, he has appeared close to tears on the mound, a shell of the man who stomped around beating his chest and oozing charisma for the past two years.

It might be that a week or two away to reset and refresh is exactly what Manoah needs right now, whether that means going home, on vacation, or to the Player Development Complex in Dunedin, anywhere out of the spotlight.

Because of the way the Blue Jays schedule sets up, now might even be the ideal time to get Manoah some time off.

After finishing this homestand against Houston and Minnesota, the Jays head out on the road for three games in Baltimore and three in Texas, not exactly ideal for a struggling pitcher. Afterwards, however, they begin a run of series against Miami, Oakland, and San Francisco, certainly a much softer landing for someone looking to get back on track.

With an off day in the schedule next week, the Jays could shut Manoah down for two weeks and only have to cover one start if they kept everyone on regular rest.

The team might even consider bringing him back specifically to face Oakland at home, because, well, if you can’t beat Oakland this year …

The downside

At this point, Manoah might need more than just a mental reset.

There is no way to sugar coat it, his mechanics have imploded in 2023 – his slider lacks bite, and his fastball sails in all directions, but never quite the direction he wants. Consider, Manoah’s 6.4 walks per nine innings this season is exactly double what it was in 2021 (3.2), and nearly triple what it was in 2022 (2.3).

He might not need time off, but time on.

Which brings us to the next option for what the Blue Jays could do with Alek Manoah …