Vinnie was an integral part of our bullpen in 2011 and 2012. he was an awesome 8th inning man, a freakin' strikeout machine, and there was even talk of him becoming our closer some day. but he had some elbow injuries he was trying to work through and that negatively impacted his performance. he was demoted to the Clippers last year after having continual tough times on the mound. he started 2014 with the Indians, but was quickly sent down to Columbus, where he stayed for a while. he was brought back up in June for a short stint before going back down to Triple A in July before now being traded.
even while pitching for C-bus, i was anticipating that he'd get things fixed, get back to striking batters out on the regular, and then be called up to Cleveland again to stay here for good. so much for that happening. honestly, he was slowly starting to improve. he made minor changes to his delivery and was getting right-handed batters out with ease again. but apparently the progress was not fast enough for the Indians to tolerate anymore.
upon hearing the news that he was traded, Vinnie tweeted the following. "What can be said after 9yrs? Thanks isnt enough. I am extremely grateful to the
in a phone interview with Jordan Bastian, Vinnie also said this. "i saw the writing on the wall a little bit. there are some other guys that [the Indians] are more fond of. it's part of the game and i get that. i'm excited for a new opportunity. it's good to feel wanted. you're always pitching for 29 other teams--not just your own. i'm glad to get a fresh start with somebody else and an opportunity to impact their club. i'm not upset or mad or anything. i've been in the shadow of that halo for a while, so it'll be nice to get back out there."
when i think about Vinnie's time with us, two major things come to mind. the way he would seriously RACE out to the mound when he was summoned out of the bullpen is what i remember Vin for the most. nobody else did that, and i loved it. the other thing i loved about Vin? his fucking awesome intro music. he had, by far, the best music imo because i love rock. Volbeat's "A Warrior's Call," Pantera's "Walk," and Five Finger Death Punch's "Lift Me Up" were my favorite songs that he ran out and warmed up to. hearing that music blasting throughout the park got me so pumped up, and it will definitely be missed.
Vinnie was very fan friendly. he was active on twitter and did many Q&As with fans. he also took time to sign autographs for fans in the players parking lot after games. i've gotten his auto several times on my baseball cards, baseballs, and Batter Ups!
Jason Kipnis was his best friend/roommate for a long time. he was sad enough when Vinnie was sent down to Columbus, so i'm sure he's taking this trade pretty hard. as luck would have it though, Vinnie could possibly reunite with an old bullpen mafia member in the future, submarine style relief pitcher Joe Smith. but for now, Vinnie will be reporting to LA's Triple A club, the Salt Lake Bees. i wish him very good luck in the LA organization and i hope he gets back to the major league level real soon.