6 Blue Jays whose future with the club hangs in the balance during spring training

Which players on the Jays’ roster could have their roles on the team on the line based on their spring performances?

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Zach Pop

When Zach Pop was acquired from the Miami Marlins back in 2022, he helped provide a steady presence in the Jays’ bullpen down the stretch run. He pitched to a solid 2-0 record with a 1.89 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, giving up just 4 earned runs and just 2 walks, along with 11 strikeouts in 19 innings of work. However, it was a completely different story for him last year after starting off on a good note. Things began to spiral downward quickly for Pop after his ninth appearance of the season, as he ended up yielding 9 earned runs on 8 hits in his subsequent six outings before being sidelined with a right hamstring strain on May 4.

Despite being ready to rejoin to the big league club by July, his underwhelming performances during his rehab assignment ended up burying him in the minors for the remainder of the season. In total, Pop registered a 6.59 ERA, 1.24 WHIP with 14 strikeouts  in 13.2 innings pitched with the Jays, and a 5.51 ERA, 1.50 WHIP with 32 strikeouts in 32.2 innings pitched with their Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bisons.

With the departures of both Jay Jackson and Jordan Hicks to free agency this offseason, a spot in the bullpen is certainly available for the taking. So far this spring, Pop has gotten off on the right foot compared to some of his main competitors, putting up zeroes across the board along with 2 hits and 2 strikeouts in 2.2 innings pitched over 3 outings. It will be up to Pop to re-establish his prior dominant form seen in 2022 and regain the trust of management if he wants to land his spot on the team’s 26-man roster when the season begins.