Our journey through the Mets minor league system, 40-man roster and non-roster Spring invites continue today as we look at another player in the latter group, Vinny Rottino. Rottino is a veteran who has had minor league (and a little major league experience) at a collection of positions including pinch hitting, catching, the corner infield positions and in the outfield. Rottino was signed in 2003 by the Brewers as an amateur (un-drafted) free agent. He was traded at the 2009 trade deadline to the Dodgers for Claudio Vargas. At the end of 2009 he signed a contract with the Marlins and then signed a contract this year with the Mets.
Rottino’s statistics have up-ticked recently. In the early 2000’s he had 4 seasons in a row where he batted .299 or better, and then slipped from that point. In the last two seasons in the minors, he has hit above .300:
2010: 441 AB, 68 R, 136 H, 27 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, .308 BA, .390 OBP
2011: 467 AB, 81 R, 142 H, 31 2B, 2 2B, 10 HR, .304 BA, .374 OBP
Since Rottino is not on the 40 man, it will be very difficult for him to make the team coming out of camp. His age provides probably the largest road block for his call up this year. For him to make it to the bigs, in any month not September, he has to first be added to the 40 man and show the Mets that he deserves playing time over Captain Kirk and F-Mart. The only way that happens is if the Mets are in the playoff hunt, need a hitter, and Rottino is doing better than those two, any one on the Mets bench and Pascucci.
However, if the Mets need to go through their depth chart this year, he could be the type of player they can use. I like the Rottino signing because he adds good depth to the system at a cheap price and allows the Mets to have options before diving into their prospects that won’t be ready yet.