With potential closer Frank Francisco ready for action after his Spring Training DL stint, the Blue Jays optioned Jesse Litsch to their AAA affiliate in Las Vegas.

This move is all about minor league options, as struggling starter Jo-Jo Reyes has none remaining. Like David Purcey last week, any move involving Reyes requires he clear waivers. The large amount of time Jesse Litsch spent on the disabled list means he has plenty of options remaining and can easily move to the AAA, despite outpitching Reyes in 2011.

With starter Brandon Morrow scheduled to return and start on Friday against the Rays, expect a corresponding move later this week.

This move is really too bad for Litsch, who performed about as well as one could expect a finally healthy Jesse Litsch to perform. Jo-Jo Reyes has, charitably, not pitched well at all. The Jays figure to give Reyes a few more starts to establish a shred of trade value before the team goes the DFA route with him too.

Frank Francisco joins an already crowded bullpen full of nearly identical pitchers. While John Farrell may hesitate to thrust the oft-injured hurler into the closer’s role, Francisco figures to make some high leverage appearances as soon as they become available.

Comments (15)

  1. It’s just another indication that winning games isn’t the primary motivation for the Jays this season. Developing players is.

    I suppose there’s nothing wrong with seeing what you have in Reyes, but it seems pretty obvious that there isn’t much there.

  2. I’d assume that Luis Rivera will be the one to go when Morrow comes back.

    As for Litsch, I expect the team will call him back up when they finally give up on Jo-Jo Reyes.

  3. Addition by subtraction.

    The fact is that even though Litsch shows flashes of it, he’s not a good enough pitcher yet. We like him because he’s on Twitter and does appearances, but if you want the Blue Jays to be a winner there needs to be a cutthroat mentality and if he isn’t winning you ball games it’s time to make a move.

    Reyes will be next to go.

  4. I don’t see what Litsch did to get demoted, except not pitch into the later innings. I guess they see something in Reyes everyone else doesn’t. I’d have hung onto Purcey over Reyes as well. This confuses me, but it’ll be good to have a fully loaded bullpen after last week’s mess.

  5. The reason this move makes no sense to me is Litsch has, sadly, been our 3rd best starter this season. Cecil and Reyes have been pretty awful.

    • The move is about options and nothing else. They can’t send down Reyes without losing him. Litsch can move up and down without clearing waivers so it’s him. Keep him on his regular rest and keep running Reyes out there until he’s completely without trade value.

  6. @Drew Why try and drain Reyes of any value that may remain? Since he obviously can’t cut it as a starter, wouldn’t the smarter move have been to option either Janssen and Perez and send Reyes to the pen with the hope that he may regain some trade value?

    • Obviously the team believes he can restore some trade value with a few strong starts. Hell, the Jays traded Dana Eveland for something (Ronald Uviedo) and he wasn’t much better than Reyes. Well, that’s not true. He made a few decent starts, unlike Reyes.

  7. This is getting stupid. Reyes hasn’t flashed at any point that he can be useful to this team.. No other team is going to be like OH, he had a good start after crapping the bed the first 3? Lets trade for him!

  8. The Pirates and their management may not be there to take advantage of this time around. Best case scenario is for Jojo to string together some quality starts and earn his place in the Jays rotation or convince another team to trade for his services.

    But let’s not fool ourselves. Jojo’s not fooling anyone up there as a starter. He needs Jason Frasor to take him on a trip to Tennessee to find a changeup.

  9. This really puzzles me. I thought the whole point of moving Purcey was to clear room in the bullpen for Reyes.

    The team is really going out of its way to have Reyes in the rotation. First, they moved Rzep (a pitcher with arguably more upside than Litsch or Reyes) to the bullpen and now they’ve demoted Litsch rather than move Reyes to the bullpen even though he probably has more potential for success there than in the rotation.

  10. I guess the Brad Emaus experiment in NY is over. Dude got DFA’d. So we can stop gnashing our teeth about him getting away….

  11. I had the AAA once…gave me a rash

  12. I wouldn’t get too worked up over this. Litsch still is the fifth best rotation option, and he’ll be back as soon as Reyes leaves.

    If Reyes doesn’t leave, then that means he is actually looking like a decent starting pitcher, and Blue Jays fans are happy.

    At most, this will cost the team a game (if Jesse were to be a half game better than Reyes for two awful starts from Reyes). I can’t see him being allowed to start more than two more awful outings. That’s worth it to me to give Reyes a little more time to get things together.

    So, all’s well with me.

  13. I am going to Sat game. Litsch was supposed to Start…who starts now? Do they move Ricky up a day?

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