John Schneider says Alek Manoah is here to stay despite shaky start

Toronto Blue Jays v Washington Nationals
Toronto Blue Jays v Washington Nationals / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Alek Manoah had yet another disappointing start in his return to the big leagues. Facing off against the Nationals Sunday afternoon, Manoah allowed six earned runs in just 4.0 IP, complete with four walks and of course, one HBP.

Manoah had the most humbling experience of his career last year. Coming off a top-three AL CY Young finish in 2022, the young righty would see himself get demoted twice after a tumultuous 2023 season. Manoah had an encouraging start last week against the Indianapolis Indians, the Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate, in which he only allowed one run in seven innings while striking out 12. It was encouraging, especially after a horrid three starts to begin the year.

Fans weren't completely sold, however, and it's not difficult to see why. Manoah's struggles with command hindered his season in 2023 and have dramatically carried over into 2024. The "Big Puma" is slipping, with no signs of a bounce-back anytime soon. But despite this, manager John Schneider indicated post-game that Manoah isn't going anywhere.

While this may be frustrating to see, it's understandable. Firstly, the Blue Jays immensely lack starting pitching depth right now. With Yariel Rodriguez just placed on the injured list with thoracic spine inflammation, the Blue Jays don't have many guys to rely on right now. Bowden Francis has looked shaky and most of the Jays' long-relief pitchers, such as Wes Parsons and Mitch White, are on different teams. Manoah isn't the ideal choice right now, but it's the only one we got. Joel Kuhnel was recently acquired from the Houston Astros, but is still less reliable than a struggling Manoah.

But who knows? Perhaps while the Jays are struggling, Manoah can re-find his footing. It's a long shot, sure, but it could happen. Manoah is only 26 and more than anything, wants to help his ballclub win. A few more starts may not only help him make some mechanical adjustments but gain some much-needed confidence. He most likely won't return to Cy Young form, but until his next start, we can only wait and see.