Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Baseball’s Winter Meetings, or, Why Your GM Should Sign Vinny Rottino

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On December 3, 2012, the baseball Winter Meetings will be held in Nashville, TN.  All thirty major league clubs, plus many minor league teams as well, will be at the Winter Meetings; much will be said, much will be hinted at, and maybe a few deals will be made to the benefit of all and sundry.

My take?  I’d like to see one of these MLB GMs actually pick up a player who will help their team in every aspect of the game — Vinny Rottino.

Rottino, you see, is now a free agent.  (Again.)  Yet he plays many positions, has a winning attitude, and has worked incredibly hard at improving himself and his abilities over the years.  And he’s been so good at keeping his body free from injury that even though he’s now chronologically thirty-two years of age, he probably can keep playing at the same level or higher for six or seven more years yet.

Ah, but you’re probably thinking, “Why do you care so much about a guy who has a lifetime major league batting average of .165, Barb?”

I care because Rottino has hit at every level, providing he’s been given a good chance to play every day.  And when someone has worked this hard for this long and does have the skills, yet never gets the chance to prove himself, that just doesn’t seem right.

So to all you MLB GMs out there,  listen up.  Rottino is smart, hard-working, has never taken a performance-enhancing drug of any sort, plays multiple positions and plays them well, and when given a chance has hit at every level.  His lifetime minor league stats of .294 with 598 RBI, 82 HR and 116 SBs over ten seasons proves that.

Rather than throwing Rottino out because he’s going to be thirty-three in April of ’13, why not sign him and give him a chance to be in your lineup every day or every other day (as Rottino hits lefthanders particularly well)?  Or at least put him on your bench, as Rottino is a capable and versatile defender who can play many, many positions.

As there are some terrible teams out there (such as the Houston Astros, about to go to the American League, or the Miami Marlins after their recent fire sale), it would seem to me that Rottino has more than enough skills to be given a flyer.  And once he’s there, it’s quite possible that Rottino will do more than enough to start the season in the major leagues — that is, unless the GMs wish to be ageist and insist that since Rottino’s never done all that well, he never will do all that well, either, because he’s about to turn thirty-three and only the rarest of the rare improve after that age.

That sort of argument is impossible to disprove unless Rottino gets another chance to play somewhere.  And since he’s done very, very well at the AAA level (seven years and counting of AAA service), it seems likely that he’ll be offered a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training by some team.

So once again,  GMs, I urge you not to be stupid.  Sign Vinny Rottino.  Know that the minor league players in your system will look up to him.  And maybe, just maybe, your other players will learn so much from him that he’ll be like another coach — which to my mind seems like his most likely career option once his playing days are done.

Several years in the future.

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Written by Barb Caffrey

November 30, 2012 at 3:54 am

Posted in baseball, Persistence, Vinny Rottino

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