The Blue Jays have traded reliever Vinny Nittoli to the Phillies in exchange for minor league catcher Karl Ellison.
Nittoli was expected to opt out of his contract earlier this week but was instead traded to Philadelphia. Coming back to Toronto, Ellison is a 27-year-old backstop playing in his first season of minor-league baseball. He has a .123 batting average and .427 OPS in 150 plate appearances across two minor-league levels this year.
Nittoli, a 31-year-old right-handed reliever, was signed to a minor league contract by Toronto in late July. In 9.2 innings with Triple A Buffalo, the righty delivered a 2.79 ERA with a .171 opponent's batting average. Per Robert Murray, Nittoli intended to exercise a contract opt-out to seek a Major League opportunity. He is expected to join the Phillies' MLB roster after the trade is complete.
Despite Nittoli's Triple A success, the righty was lower in the depth chart for an MLB opportunity in Toronto due to some recent solid play from several Blue Jays minor league relievers.
In the last month, Bisons' pitchers Shaun Anderson, Foster Griffin, and Matt Gage have all posted ERAs at or below 3.00. Rehabbing relievers Julian Merryweather and Tayler Saucedo have both also been strong in recent outings while Nate Pearson works back into game action.
Toronto and all other teams will gain two extra spots on Thursday for September roster expansion. One of the Jays' spots is expected to be taken by the recently reclaimed Bradley Zimmer, while the other will go to a pitcher.