RP Zach Pop
After being acquired from the Miami Marlins at the trade deadline in 2022, Zach Pop played a key role in helping the Jays reach the postseason for the second time in three years. He went 2-0 with a stellar 1.89 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, giving up only 4 earned runs over 19 innings of work in 17 appearances. His impressive performance earned him a valuable spot on the team’s playoff roster. Although the postseason ended prematurely in stunning fashion for the Jays in the AL Wild Card series against the Seattle Mariners, Pop nevertheless was looking forward to build upon his success in the upcoming 2023 season.
However, after a strong start to the season in which he gave up only 1 earned run and 3 hits in his first nine relief appearances, he completely fell apart in his following six games. He would give up 9 earned runs during that stretch, with his ERA ballooning from 1.08 to 6.59 in the process. To make matters worse, Pop suffered a right hamstring strain on May 4, an injury that ended up keeping him out for almost two months. To add insult to injury - literally - he would suffer a setback during the rehab process, along with performing poorly in his rehab appearances. When he was finally reinstated from the IL in early July, he never got the chance to see daylight with the Jays again as he was optioned to Buffalo where he remained for the rest of the season.
RP Thomas Hatch
To the Jays’ faithful, it sure felt like Thomas Hatch had been with the organization forever. But for some reason, he never had been able to fully capitalize on his opportunities to stick with the big league club on a permanent basis. Ever since the Jays acquired Hatch from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for David Phelps at the 2019 trade deadline, he had been given ample chances as both a starter and a reliever at the major league level for the past four seasons. Hatch did have one decent season in 2020 in which he went 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, but he has failed to replicate any of that success in the subsequent years.
This past season, Hatch was only called upon for spot duty when the Jays ran into some injury troubles with their bullpen. And when they did, Hatch did not step up to the task, as he posted a 4.26 ERA, a horrific 2.37 WHIP, giving up 10 hits, 5 walks and 10 strikeouts in just 6.1 innings pitched. As a result, Hatch was designated for assignment in August after the trade deadline and was eventually claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates, marking the end of the Thomas Hatch era in Toronto.