Righty reliever Vinny Nittoli exercised the opt-out clause in his minor league deal with the Cubs on Thursday, giving the organization 48 hours to either add him to the 40-man roster or release him. Or, as ended up being the case, they could trade the 32-year-old. That’s what ended up happening, though this deal with the Mets isn’t likely to result in the same fleecing as when the Cubs got Pete Crow-Armstrong in 2021.
Nittoli has only logged three total innings in the majors, one with the Mariners in ’21 and two more with the Phillies last year, since being drafted by Seattle in the 25th round back in 2014. He’s bounced around between several organizations, pitching in the Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, and Yankees organizations over the years. There hasn’t been much to suggest Nittoli will be an effective reliever at the big league level, though his numbers have been better of late.
His 3.48 ERA across 20.2 innings in 16 appearances is solid and he posted a 3.44 ERA in 36.2 innings for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate last season. His 2.79 mark at the top level of the minors with Philly was enough to get him that cup of coffee, so the Mets must be hoping he’s figured something out. They also have two open spots on the 40-man and are a perpetual example of the adage that you can never have too much pitching.
The Cubs’ return in the deal has not been reported, but we can assume it’s cash considerations or a player to be named later.