Transactions: Welcome, Vinny Rottino

Vinny's here!

When Travis Hafner went on paterntiy leave earlier this week, the Indians had an interesting decision. Well, relatively interesting. Ok, barely interesting. Interesting in the context of rabid fandom? In any case, the Indians had the opportunity to fill their 25th active roster spot, and there were a litany of Hafner-like (and, I guess, Hafner-lite) options available. We could do an analysis of option years but, frankly, the Indians do not have a ton of guys on the 40-man roster who's option years need to be preserved. In short, the Indians could have called up any of Matt LaPorta, Russ Canzler, Jason Donald, Cord Phelps, Juan Diaz, Ezequiel Carrera, or Vinny Rottino without much fanfare. Lars Anderson may have also been an option, but of all the players listed his remaining options are probably the most valuable and, of course, he's brand new to the organization. With a little brute force, here is the approximate matrix the Indians were considering:

Name Level Positions OPS
Matt LaPorta AAA 1B/LF 873
Russ Canzler AAA 1B/LF/RF 808
Jason Donald AAA 2B/SS/3B/LF/CF 815
Cord Phelps AAA 2B 794
Juan Diaz AA SS 731
Ezequiel Carrera AAA LF/CF/RF 770
Vinny Rottino AAA 1B/LF/RF/C 874
Lars Anderson AAA 1B/LF 774

Obviously, replacing Hafner doesn't have any real positional implications. You could bring up an extra infielder or outfielder, but it's not as if any of Hafner's at-bats were coming while playing the field. And, of course, the most likely outcome of this call-up is that the player barely plays, maybe getting into one game or a pinch-hit experience.

That said, I just thought there was something interesting in 1) how closely grouped the players all are in terms of performance (the "all-bat" players barely have more bat than the left-end of the defensive spectrum guys), and 2) in the decision to call up Rottino specifically. I wrote a bit about this in a comment when Cunningham was cut, but appearing in the major leagues at all is sort of a big deal. I think MLB players are paid by game (as opposed to day; somebody correct me if I'm wrong), so at the major league minimum of $480,000 a year, three games in the majors is worth something near $10,000. Considering many minor league players make less than $50,000 a year, this is a substantial amount of money relative to total salary and, of course, it's also got to be pretty fun to spend a few days with the major league team, getting the big league per diem, etc. There's also the case of the major league health insurance, which can be a huge boon for players with families. I often wonder how much this sort of thing gets considered by front offices when dealing with these minor moves.

Rottino is a good story: he was an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin-La Crosse who the Brewers signed as organizational fodder. Vinny had other plans, though, as he started to hit a little right away, and continued to hit a little at pretty much every level. It's a classic minor league archetype: his career minor league OPS is just under 800, not nearly good enough to make the majors with his defensive deficiencies, but more than good enough to bang around the minors and, very occasionally, find himself on a major league roster. And, to his credit, Rottino has done everything he can to make the majors, even converting himself into a viable catcher, apparently. Final Rottino fun fact: Vinny played for Italy in the 2009 WBC.

This will not be Rottino's first trip to the big leagues, as he has .112 years of accumulated major league service time, having done some very short stints with the Brewers and Marlins big league clubs. He started the season in the Mets organization, appearing briefly in the majors and then playing in Buffalo, before coming over to Columbus after 36 games. Since arriving in Columbus, Rottino has hit well enough and you can't make strong arguments for any of the other candidates besides organizational loyalty. Perhaps someone would assert that a long-time Indians farmhand deserves the benefits of a few seconds on a major league roster more than a mercenary AAA guy. That's a bit silly, though, as all of our long-time farmhands are a few moments away from being a mercenary AAA guy for another club; players of this ilk are all one pool, basically freely available to all teams if a GM really valued the player. Even LaPorta, at this point, could be had for a pittance.

While you're watching Vinny over the next few days (if he even makes it into a game), you can hope to see his tenth career walk, fourteenth and fifteenth career hits, third career homerun, first career triple, or, the one I'm hoping for, his fifth career stolen base without ever having been caught. Good luck, Vinny Rottino.


Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2003 23 Helena PION Rk MIL 64 261 42 69 10 0 1 5 2 28 25 .311 .404 .369 .773
2004 24 Beloit MIDW A MIL 140 584 78 161 25 9 17 5 1 40 71 .304 .352 .482 .834
2005 25 2 Teams 2 Lgs AA-AAA MIL 129 548 67 149 21 6 7 2 2 43 74 .299 .354 .408 .762
2005 25 Huntsville SOUL AA MIL 120 516 63 139 20 6 6 2 1 40 68 .296 .351 .403 .754
2005 25 Nashville PCL AAA MIL 9 32 4 10 1 0 1 0 1 3 6 .345 .406 .483 .889
2006 26 Nashville PCL AAA MIL 117 452 55 125 25 2 7 12 7 40 74 .314 .379 .440 .819
2007 27 Nashville PCL AAA MIL 107 430 59 109 17 3 12 15 9 37 58 .289 .363 .446 .809
2008 28 Nashville PCL AAA MIL 118 477 59 112 30 3 7 9 4 31 72 .260 .313 .392 .705
2009 29 2 Teams 1 Lg AA MIL,LAD 129 484 64 108 18 0 4 14 2 62 53 .261 .355 .333 .689
2009 29 Chattanooga,Huntsville SOUL AA MIL,LAD 129 484 64 108 18 0 4 14 2 62 53 .261 .355 .333 .689
2009 29 Huntsville SOUL AA MIL 98 395 46 85 13 0 4 9 1 47 45 .249 .339 .323 .662
2009 29 Chattanooga SOUL AA LAD 31 89 18 23 5 0 0 5 1 15 8 .315 .427 .384 .811
2010 30 2 Teams 2 Lgs AA-AAA FLA 121 506 68 136 27 3 8 23 2 58 54 .308 .390 .438 .828
2010 30 Jacksonville SOUL AA FLA 116 493 67 133 27 1 8 22 2 53 51 .307 .384 .430 .814
2010 30 New Orleans PCL AAA FLA 5 13 1 3 0 2 0 1 0 5 3 .375 .615 .875 1.490
2011 31 New Orleans PCL AAA FLA 119 524 81 142 31 2 10 17 9 50 62 .304 .374 .443 .818
2012 32 2 Teams 1 Lg AAA NYM,CLE 66 295 42 78 19 2 8 12 3 28 36 .304 .369 .486 .856
2012 32 Buffalo IL AAA NYM 36 155 22 43 10 1 4 5 3 12 20 .307 .361 .479 .840
2012 32 Columbus IL AAA CLE 30 140 20 35 9 1 4 7 0 16 16 .299 .379 .496 .874
10 Seasons 1110 4561 615 1189 223 30 81 114 41 417 579 .295 .363 .425 .788
AAA (7 seasons) AAA 541 2223 301 579 123 14 45 66 33 194 311 .294 .361 .440 .801
AA (3 seasons) AA 365 1493 194 380 65 7 18 38 5 155 172 .289 .363 .390 .753
A (1 season) A 140 584 78 161 25 9 17 5 1 40 71 .304 .352 .482 .834
Rk (1 season) Rk 64 261 42 69 10 0 1 5 2 28 25 .311 .404 .369 .773
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/2/2012.


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