10:38AM: The Phillies have announced the trade, with minor league catcher Karl Ellison heading to the Blue Jays in exchange for Nittoli. Ellison was an undrafted player who played in independent leagues in 2019 and 2021 before signing with the Phils organization this year for his first season of affiliated baseball. The 27-year-old Ellison has hit .123/.235/.192 over 150 combined plate appearances at the high-A and Triple-A levels this season.
10:13AM: The Phillies have acquired right-hander Vinny Nittoli from the Blue Jays, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link). Nittoli hasn’t been on a big league roster or injured list all season, and is thus eligible to be dealt after the August 2 trade deadline. Adding Nittoli now makes him eligible for possible inclusion on Philadelphia’s postseason roster, and Passan writes that the Phils will promote the righty to the majors tomorrow when rosters expand.
Reports surfaced a few days ago that Nittoli was planning to exercise an opt-out clause in his minor league deal with the Jays, though today was his opt-out date, and Toronto dealt Nittoli before he could exercise the clause. The 31-year-old Nittoli was only in the Jays organization for a little over a month, as he inked a minor league deal with Toronto after opting out of another minors contract with the Yankees.
While the trade means that Nittoli won’t get to choose his next destination as a free agent, he’ll still achieve his end goal of making it back to a Major League roster. He’ll also return to Pennsylvania, after playing his high school ball in Gibsonia before heading to Xavier University and being a 25th-round pick for the Mariners in the 2014 draft.
Though Nittoli’s career first took him through the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks farm system, and a stint in independent baseball, his MLB debut took place back in a Mariners uniform, as he tossed one inning for Seattle last season. The M’s released him in August 2021, leading to Nittoli bouncing around to the Twins, Yankees, and back to the Jays in search of another opportunity in the Show.
Nittoli has had a good season at Triple-A, with a 3.30 ERA, 7.61% walk rate, and 32.06% strikeout rate over 46 1/3 combined innings with the Blue Jays and Yankees’ top affiliates. A lack of consistent Triple-A success might have been what prevented Nittoli from getting a longer look in the majors in the past, but he’ll now get at least some kind of stint with a Phillies team in the midst of a playoff race.
Seranthony Dominguez is still going to miss at least another week or two on the injured list, thus putting the Phillies on a search for bullpen help. Chris Devenski was signed to a minor league deal yesterday, and it is possible that the Phils might still acquire someone else besides just Nittoli before the day is over. Also, Zach Eflin threw a bullpen session yesterday as he tries to work his way back from a knee injury that has sidelined him for over two months, and if Eflin is able to return, he would pitch as a reliever rather than as a starter.