The Dodgers have announced the signing of outfielder/first baseman Juan Rivera for the 2012 season. Rivera is the former Angels outfielder seemingly grabbed off the trash bin from a waiver trade during the all-star break.
On July 12th, the Dodgers looking for anyone to replace the useless Marcus Thames in left field, acquired Rivera from the waiver wire, for cash considerations. Originally traded to the Blue Jays before the 2011 season started, involved in the Vernon Wells trade, Rivera had a very
quiet first half with the Blue Jays.
Rivera was only hitting .243 with 6 home runs 28 RBI , and a .305 OBP, in limited playing time with Toronto. Once he joined the Dodgers, he instantly found rejuvenation. Rivera provided the Dodgers with something they desperately needed, lineup protection for KeMvP. As the nightmarish first half concluded, we were beyond desperate for any morsel of offense. Rivera very quietly provided us with much needed run support.
Rivera is 33 years old, and from Guarrenas, Miranda Venezuela. The right handed hitting outfielder, has spent almost his entire career playing in the American League. Originally signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent, he began with the Yankees, before playing in Montreal for a season. After wards he spent the next six seasons with the Angels. After the 2010 season, he was traded to Toronto. Rivera who once hit 25 home runs with the Angels, and is a career .277 hitter also has a history of leg and knee problems. Batting behind KeMvP for the Dodgers, he was revitalized. Rivera in 62 games, batted a very solid .274, with a .333 OBP, and 5 home runs. But even more important, he drove in 46 runs for the Dodgers in 219 At bats. All total for Toronto and the Dodgers, Rivera batted .258, with 11 home runs, and 74 RBI
According to sources, Rivera’s contract is for 1 year 4 million dollars, with a club option for 2013 It seems the Dodgers may be bringing him back for a bench spot, as many expect rookie Jerry Sands to grab the left field job. This might actually maximize his value considering he absolutely crushes left handed pitching. Rivera Pounded lefties to a .289/.349 clip in 2011. Regardless of whether Rivera is a lefty corner outfield/first baseman masher off the bench, or a starter, it’s obvious he had to be brought back. Some fans will argue that his small sample size doesn’t mean much, I don’t care. Last year he was outstanding for the Dodgers. Hes well deserving of at least a roster spot for next year.
Rivera’s productive bat and quiet respectful demeanor gave us a welcomed reprieve from the flury of Automatic outs that inhabited the black hole of left field this year. I recommend the Dodgers keep his outfield playing time to a minimum. First base is ok. This should keep him fresh throughout the season. He’s not here for his defense anyways, We’ve got Tony Gwynn Jr. for that. With the two of them , were looking at a pretty decent outfield bench duo. Rivera’s bat, and Gywnn’s glove. Rivera deserves a chance to play in 2012 no matter what. Without his bat, we don’t have a winning second half. Let’s give him a shot. This is a good deal for the Dodgers. Now let’s just make sure he stays healthy……GO BLUE