Sunday, February 3, 2008

A Fifth of Litsch

With the prevalence of strict off-season regimes (personal trainers, fancy machines, workout tapes, George Foreman grills), and with most all positions already set for the Jays, the only reason for the bluebirds to bother heading to Dunedin is in order to figure out who the fifth starter will be.

If I know one thing from watching American Idol, it's that tough decisions like this shouldn't be left to the judges, but rather decided by The People. So, what toll free number do I dial to ensure that Jesse Litsch is our number five come Opening Day?

You remember Litsch, the feel-good story of last summer, who came storming out of AA New Hampshire when the big club needed him, looking every bit like a young Mickey Rooney (pictured at right in 1948's The Pride of the FisherCats: The Jesse Litsch Story). Litsch ended up making 20 starts for Toronto in '07, and ending up with a nice 3.81 ERA. The way I see it, Lil' Jesse earned the right to hold onto the fifth spot.

Litsch's competition is pretty much Casey Janssen, who was strong out of the bullpen last year, and the very fragrant Gustavo Chacin, who didn't really do anything in his injury-marred campaign. I think there are more questions than answers surrounding the practitioner of perfumery, and Janssen ought to stay in the bullpen, says I, so that Toronto's starters can continue to enjoy the relative certainty of held leads when they have to leave before the late innings. Problem is, word has it that the Rogers suits want Casey in the rotation. Gibbons, meanwhile, has let it be known that he thinks like I do (as do the Ghostrunners, bless their souls). Who will prevail?

The Drama in Dunedin all gets underway in less than two weeks. Hey, at least it'll give us a reason to pay attention. Otherwise we'd be subjected to an endless stream of speculation on Vernon's shoulder ("Sore, or just a bit achy?" "Tight?" "Eighty percent? Ninety? A hundred and ten?"). Besides, maybe the competition will be good for the young'un.

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