Juan Rivera and the Dodgers are closing in on a one-year contract that would include a team option for 2013, according to baseball sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been finalized. The deal could be completed later this week.
No surprise here – Rivera was roundly hailed as a savior when he replaced Marcus Thames in July, and I’ve never thought that he wouldn’t be back in 2012, though it’s probably not the route I would have taken. The fact that it’s apparently not two guaranteed years is promising, though the value of this contract depends entirely on the dollars and his role. Ideally we’re not talking about more than $2m or so, because he made $5.25m last year and got DFA’d by Toronto, so he deserves a pay cut.
Almost as important – and obviously it’s far too early to know the answer to this – is what his role would be. Remember, for all of the accolades he received for merely being better than Thames (and Jay Gibbons, etc.), he only hit .274/.333/.406 – not bad, but hardly numbers you want from a starting corner outfielder. The idea of “Juan Rivera, starting left fielder” isn’t exactly how I want to get this offseason started. That said, he does still produce against lefties (even though he absolutely cannot hit righties), and there’s definitely a spot on this team for a platoon bat to help spot for Andre Ethier and/or James Loney. Along with being possible insurance for Jerry Sands, you could do worse. I suppose, anyway; Ned Colletti doesn’t exactly have a sterling track record when it comes to repeat engagements from low-cost mid-season veteran pickups from the year before.
Update: The deal is reportedly for $4m, per Ken Gurnick. I suppose there was no way I wasn’t going to be disappointed by this, but is there really anyone who thinks this deal is going to be worth it? I’d say there’s just about an equal chance that he’s DFA’d by July than there is that he actually earns that money. Oh, and Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier won Gold Gloves, which is such a flawed award that I can’t even bring myself to speak about it. It’s just the height of lunacy that anyone puts any stock into the Gold Glove, though you can all prepare for Steve Lyons to be about 40 times as insufferable next year.