That Ungrateful Litsch!

As is entirely his right, Jesse “one of the best pitchers in the American League in 2008″ Litsch is a free agent. The Blue Jays explain, via Twitter:

Well that’s… something.

And not the only bit of minor rosturbation we can participate in, as Baseball America’s Matt Eddy tweets that four other outrighted Jays pitchers have elected free agency: Scott Richmond, Bobby Korecky, Shawn Hill and Aaron Laffey.

If we’re being honest, Laffey may be the most significant loss of the five, but the bigger one to fans, of course, is Litsch, who might have provided some depth for the club in 2013, provided he had  fully recovered from an injury-ruined 2012– during which questions arose about whether he’d even be able to continue his career, after developing an infection in his pitching shoulder following a PRP injection.

Judging by the decision to try his luck on the open market, I suppose one could reasonably assume that he’s healthy enough to believe someone will sign him.

So… it’s a loss, but not a major one– a healthy Litsch would have had to leapfrog multiple returning players just to get a crack at next year’s rotation, and very obviously the Jays are going to aim higher this winter.

Perhaps more interestingly, it takes the number of players on the Jays’ 40-man roster down to 37– at least by my count of the list at BlueJays.com, though the Jays tweeted late last week that they were down to 37 following their outrighting of Laffey, Hill and Korecky.

The discrepancy may be explained by the fact that the club’s official site still lists Omar Vizquel as being on the 40 [Update: Nope. As pointed out by a commenter the discrepancy exists, of course, because Litsch was on the 60-Day DL]. It also includes all of the club’s potential free agents (Kelly Johnson, Carlos Villanueva, Brandon Lyon, Jason Frasor), but not the six pitchers still on the 60-day DL, three of whom (Sergio Santos, Dustin McGowan and JA Happ) could potentially be healthy enough to compete for jobs next spring, and all of whom will have to be on the 40-man prior to the Rule V draft. In other words, there’s certainly more movement yet to come. As, y’know, you’d damn well expect.

Meanwhile, Litsch drifts away into the ether, hoping someone will give him a chance to recapture the magic that in 2008– four years and… let’s go with several pounds ago– propelled him to a 2.6 fWAR season and a 3.58 ERA that he’s never come close to in the injury-riddled years since.

Godspeed, you fat fucking Litsch.

Comments (82)

  1. Litsch was on the 60-day DL, so it doesn’t decrease the number of guys on the 40-man.

  2. Perfect. I won’t lose any sleep over any of these guys trying to find homes elsewhere.

  3. Farewell to the Litsch King…

  4. Who?

  5. Will they still be delivering McDonalds to the clubhouse?

  6. Jays have 37 currently on. Have to add the 6 guys on the 60 Day (Happ, Drabek, Hutch, McGowan, Perez and Santos), then subtract the 4 free agents (Vizquel, Frasor, Villa & Lyon) it leaves us at 39. However we have to make decisions on the options of Rajai and Oliver (okay it’s more his decision). Plus we have to add AJ Jimenez so it could be another 2 guys needed to be cut by five days after the WS ends. Beck is first on that list, then probably McCoy. Then we have to cut (or trade) a player for every single FA we sign. Got to figure that a few players get moved just for cash considerations.

  7. Fare thee well Chubby Ginger!

  8. that’s okay. he has been developing a David Wells like physique and always got my vote for the ugliest guy in baseball. The Jays have too many injury prone guys with potential anyway. What they need are consistant pitchers with a long track record of quality pitching and Litsch doesn’t fit into that category.

  9. I really do not care what any of them do, they are not that good, move on Jays are sign some free agents yourself, this was a very painful season for all

  10. Stoeten: I liked your post up until your final sentence. Why did you have to insult the guy? If it’s sour grapes, I feel sorry for you. This guy did his best for the org. Please try and control your emotions. Just wish him well.

  11. With the lack of lefty depth, I think Beck would be gone before Crawford. McCoy might actually be the smarter choice to keep as they don’t have another utility guy. Only the team might have a list of AAA/AAAA utility players that they can scour to see availability. You absolutely need someone in AAA or the utility infielder that can cover for Lawrie because he probably can’t stay healthy the whole season.

    These are just minor things though, and no one should get worked up about compared to the upgrades needed in the rotation.

  12. Number two pitcher!

  13. This dude looks like he should join Uncle Si on Duck Dynasty

  14. A Giants comeback series win would really spoil that Cincinnati narrative quickly.

    With the move to Buffalo, I do wonder what kind of effect this will have on the team’s ability to bring in AAA talent (pitchers especially). The Jays burned through their AAA imports by mid-season, so I think they can use that as a selling point that if they sign, they are almost guaranteed to spend some time with the parent club.

    I have a pretty strong sense of dread that the team is not going to be willing to meet the price for free agents again this offseason with more money coming into more teams that are willing to invest in their MLB payroll. I expect the Jays to be outbid. I really hope I am wrong, but every team outside of Houston probably believes they have a legitimate shot at the playoffs now.

  15. Anyone else the article on sportsnet website saying that Beeston has had talks with the Red sox re Farrel?

  16. Hilarious sign off.

  17. Interesting that Olney is saying it’s Beeston at the middle of this. Olney says Farrellball will walk after next season. If that’s true, the Jays need to figure out who will manage anyway,so they may as well deal Farrellball. However, who was the last manager that just walked away as a free agent from a team? Tony LaRussa from Oakland to St. Louis (team being sold) and Joe Torre from the Yankees (contract turmoil) to LA.

    Anyone else?

    • Farrell will walk to… where?

      Boston?

      Is Boston about to hire a one-year manager?

      I doubt he’d want the “demotion” of going back to being a pitching coach in Cleveland…. would he?

      None of that makes sense.

      • We’ll probably find out soon. If Beeston IS having lunch with Boston management I suspect there wont be a good enough offer and they’ll go looking. Then a year from now Farrell will go on the market and Boston will sign him in some phoney cacpacity…”advisor” or some dumb thing like that..

  18. Why not expose McGowan to Rule 5? If some other team wants to take that ill-advised multi-year contract off our hands, awesome.

  19. Jesse’s pissed that he won’t be near the Vegas buffets anymore.

  20. On the subject of pitchers… did anyone else catch Brett Anderson’s start against the Tigers yesterday? Dude could be Sleepy Lind’s twin

  21. None of these guys would have been starters or even on the roster if not for injuries so no great loss

  22. “and very obviously the Jays are going to aim higher this winter.”

    uh yeah right.

    • Exactly. As fans of the team, we should be skeptical until we actually see the team make the kind of financial investments that are at least what average teams are doing.

      If no one puts the team’s feet to the fire, Rogers is satisfied enough to let the checks keep rolling in.

      • Who cares if they “aim higher” even if they actually really ARE aiming higher? They not only have to aim and fire, they have to hit at least a couple targets. this isnt college or high school where we laud people for their efforts irrespective of results . This is play for pay. Low expectation having mother effers (to borrow a phrase from CR)

  23. So long lumberjack. Nice knowing you.

  24. Yeah no peripheral crapola like Rauch or Laffey or for that matter Villaneuava when we first picked him up ( cash deal from Milwaukee which was actually good for us overall). I want to see a BIG step forward in pitching not cosmetic shit.
    Take some coin and try and get Peavy away from Chicago whose option of 22m is being declined, at least talk to DEmpster as maybe we cn get a CDN to pitch here and then think about an E.Jackson or even Sanchez of Detroit.
    Peavy would cost 20m/yr, DEmpster about 16m and Sanchez about 14m as would Jackson or about50m.
    They probably won’t commit that much but remember they are saving 6.5 on strikeout Johnson, 3.5 on HR FRASOR, 5.5 on goodbye Teahen, 4.5 on goofy Cordero, which is a cool 20m so they really need an extra 30m to pull it off. Do you think they have the cojones to do it??

    • I think the plan would be to sign one and trade for one to keep costs contained. Who knows what they could do. If the payroll went up around 20 million (90~95 million) it’s definitely possible because they have been there once before.

      However, if the team can dig up scouting gems like a devalued Happ, I wouldn’t be upset. JUST WIN, BABY!

      • Ed, that was exactly, precisely what I was thinking….If AA can find a devalued “Innings Eater”, ( doesnt have to be a strikeout king or have a blazing fastball, just someone to keep you close and give you a chance to win) thats what he trades for (one or two of: Escobar, Rasmus, Davis, or JPA, (to Arizona for Corbin or whoever else on whichever team). And that keeps the the prospects on the farm. Then he goes after a Greinke or Peavy (insert big $$ name here) with the coin. Presto! You’ve got your ready made rotation (Romero, Morrow, NTBA, NTBA, Happ) that will get you innings and wins .

        • Lots of rumblings in Cleveland that Masterson is available (he was being shopped around in July). The Jays and the Indians fit well in a potential trade. The Indians need some cheap MLB ready talent at 1B (we could send Cooper) and there is a strong chance that Choo is dealt (we could deal Sierra). A combination of the above with some pitching (I dunno, maybe one of the B prospect guys like Dyson) might be enough. Cooper was having a decent stint before he went down and Sierra projects to be a good second division starter with some power potential.

          • Well I dont know that I’d even return the call if I was Cleveland…really? Sierra Cooper and Dyson for Masterson and Choo?

        • oops “devalued” should’ve been “undervalued”

          • @ Carl.

            Yeah, I wouldn’t return the call if I was Cleveland either. What I suggested was Masterson in exchange for Cooper, Sierra and a B propsect.

            Choo’s name was in there to explain that the Indians are likely going to shop him in the offseason and would require someone in RF (Sierra).

            The Indians just hired Francona to a 4 year deal. My thinking is that they might want to rebuild as the Tigers and White Sox aren’t going anywhere. Plus, many of the top Indian prospects are still 1 to 2 years away from being MLB ready.

            Dealing a guy like Masterson (who is entering year 2 of arbitration and will likely command $4.5M) in exchange for near league minimum salaries for two position players along with a serviceable bullpen arm might be enough.

            I think the Yankees are going to go hard after Choo once Swisher elects to go into the free agency market. The Indians have nothing in the high minors to replace his defense, let alone his bat. Sierra would fit well.

    • Holy shit Jake Peavy is going to get a 20 million dollar per year contract? Since when did you buy a Delorean and go back to 2007? Also, can I borrow it? I want to go back a few months and warn Yunel Escobar about self righteous indignation.

      Also, Hitler; I’d probably try and do something about that dude…

      • The Cubs have a $22 mill option on him. If they pick it up, he’s there. If they dont they pay him $4mill and he’s a FA. He hasnt produced anywhere near what he did in San Diego but he probably wont sign anywhere else for less than $17 mill: what he got this year.

  25. Hmm…and here I was thinking that he was already not playing anymore.

  26. Jesse Litsch signs with the Baltimore orioles, wins 20 games…with a 4.50 FIP.

  27. Litsch aka Bob Backlund was always my favorite Jay. Bulldog mentality, unkempt appearance, and a true example of an athlete trapped in a fat man’s body. He also fielded his position well, as Jamie Campbell would announce 5 thousand times every time Litsch took to then hill. Hope this ‘ranga catches on somewhere

  28. i will miss ginger santa claus. would rather have him than jason frasor any day.

  29. Litsch was a 24th round pick who worked hard and improved his game enough to defy the odds and make the majors. He showed some solid stuff in 2008 and it is really quite sad that injuries got in the way (including the infection that nearly took his life this year).

    I think he deserves a clean start somewhere. It cannot be easy to come back from that after already over-achieving. I am sure it will end up being a minor league contract wherever he goes, but he will probably crawl his way back up.

  30. I might be crazy, but wasn’t Litsch the easy peasy answer to the question of how we’re gonna replace Not-Charlie-V? I mean, there’s no question now we’re letting the smoke and mirrors 15 start guy walk right? Why couldn’t Litsch totally fill that swingman role along with Perez? I think the team must be more doubtful of his health than we thought.

    Here’s another crazy idea; why don’t we try McGowan in the bullpen? Everyone always says ‘you can’t do that, his arm would never hold up’ – because it’s held up great in a starting role right?

    • My first thought would be to get him back, period. Then see what he can and cant do. Dont forget part of being on the DL includes re-hab.

      • No… no more waiting for McGowan, give him his walking papers and be done with it. He’s never going to be back at the form he once had, he’s not a prospect anymore.

  31. While I admire Dustin’s resolve, I really don’t think he’ll ever pitch in MLB again. And, to be honest, his control was spotty, his era was usually over 4.0 and he issued a fair number of walks. He really isn’t all that great if you look at iy objectively-sort of the Travis Snider of the pitching staff, nice guy ,nice story, mediocre results. Sorry, I pass, we can do better

  32. Stoeten is the last person who should be calling anyone fat.

    • Stoeten also isnt a professional athlete getting paid big bucks to be in shape. When youre being paid a shit ton of money to play a sport its sort of a must to stay in shape and while pitchers havent exactly been the top example of physical fitness over the years, they should still stay in shape.

      Look at that fat fuck Bartolo Colon or maybe that sasquatch CC Sabathia, those guys dont exactly scream Im in shape either.

  33. Not sure Laffey is a real loss here. 5.48 FIP in the rotation, 6.23 in the pen. He’s just not a good pitcher. He threw a fair amount of innings for the Jays, but I wouldn’t necessarily call them good innings. Pretty much the poster boy for replacement level.

    There’s plenty of those types lying around who can be signed to minor league deals in the offseason.

  34. So we could have gotten a prospect or something for Farrell but Beeston blocked it. Well you know what gents, I would be concerned but our best man is on the case. I love that he has to attend BBQs and picnics with management of other teams because he doesn’t “do” e-mail.

    (Which reminds me: the most critical piece of equipment in the organization isn’t Jose’s bat… it isn’t Morrow’s insulin kit or Hech’s glove… it’s fucking Beeston’s fax machine with the Y2K blast processing upgrade on its last blast of toner that will probably clog when hearing back from Hamilton’s agent, thus killing that deal,)

  35. I love all these people saying “we can do this” and “we cant do that” like theyre a part of the front office. If youre not on the team or in the organization somewhere being paid you cant say WE. Thats like going to see your favourite band and being like “man we played awesome tonight but we should get a new drummer”. You sound dumb…

    Moving on… Litsch can fuck off, Richmond and Hill… lol Richmond Hill thats funny… anyways both of those guys will be pitching in Japan next year guaranteed though I can see Hill getting a look from here or there maybe. Korecky,,, yah,,, no one cares but Laffey did some good work at times this year, I liked him as a Jay, I thought when he was really needed he did an decent job of stepping up and will likely find a reasonable contract somewhere.

    McGowan is another body that I would like gone, I think were all sick of this guy and his porcelain body that breaks somehow every time he throws more than a few pitches. His stuff is amazing, this is true, his stuff alone is what has kept so many of us waiting with high hopes for his return and then at the start of the fucking year he gets hurt which was supposedly a non serious injury but again he was out all year. Give this guy his walking papers and let him waste someone elses money and time.

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