Blue Jays: Four roster moves the club should already be considering
By Edward Eng
The Toronto Blue Jays have been off to a good start in 2023, sporting a nice 10-7 record right out of the gate. They even took two out of three games from the supposedly unstoppable and undefeated Tampa Bay Rays this past weekend, coming out of it with confidence level way high. However, as good as they have been, certain small tinkers to their lineup and/or roster can be looked at to help further enhance their performance.
Here we take a look at four roster moves that can help improve the Jays’ current setup to make them be even better for the short term, and perhaps in the long run as well.
1. Zach Pop should be given the chance at higher leverage situations
Last year in 2022, the Jays acquired Zach Pop (along with Anthony Bass) from the Miami Marlins in exchange for Jordan Groshans at the trade deadline to help bolster their bullpen. Pop had performed admirably, pitching to a 1.89 ERA and a WHIP of 1.05 with 11 strikeouts in 19 innings with the Jays. This year, he has come out of the gate even stronger, appearing in nine games, striking out 11 with a 1.08 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP over 8.1 innings. However, the common trend of his utilization by Schneider was that he has yet to be called upon during higher leverage situations during his entire tenure with the Jays thus far, even dating back to last year. The bulk of his appearances take place in the fifth or sixth inning, or when the Jays were either already ahead or behind by three runs or more.
Whether his effective pitching thus far in a Jays uniform was due to entering the game in low leverage conditions is uncertain. But in his prior experience with the Marlins, Pop was used way more in higher leverage situations (usually within a 2-run difference and later in the game) and he proved that he was able to handle it decently, maintaining a 3.60 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. With Trevor Richards, Yimi García and Bass struggling a bit with control to start the season, Pop should be given the opportunity to handle more higher leverage, late game situations along with Adam Cimber and Erik Swanson, serving as the bridge to Jordan Romano.