Los Angeles Angels made shrewd move in signing Rene Rivera

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 22: Martin Maldonado
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 22: Martin Maldonado /

The Los Angeles Angels made a move this week when they signed veteran catcher Rene Rivera to a one-year contract to compete for a back-up position behind Gold Glove catcher Martin Maldonado.

The Los Angeles Angels used minor-league veteran Juan Graterol most of last season as a back-up to Martin Maldonado.  Graterol did a good job in this role defensively, but offensively he was a liability.  He hit only 202 with no homers and 10 RBIs.

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Carlos Perez is another option for the Angels as a back-up catcher as he has also been really good defensively over the past couple of seasons.  However his hitting has not been up to par as Perez hit .100 in 20 at-bats with the Angels.

So signing Rene Rivera gives the Angels some insurance, especially if Maldonado has an injury issues.  At the very least he will be a very capable back-up.  Rivera hit .252 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs with a .305 OBP.  Defensively Rivera caught 15 of 41 (.365) would-be base stealers and had a .998 fielding percentage playing both catcher and first base in 2017.

For his career Rivera is a ..220 hitter with 36 homers and 153 RBIs and he has a .991 fielding percentage throwing out 119 of 327 (.371) would-be base stealers.  Rivera will be good in a back-up role and will also provide some veteran leadership as well.

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The Angels are known for making these small moves that pay great dividends and hopefully this will be another move that will pay off.  Last offseason when the Angels made another small move trading catcher Jett Bandy to the Milwaukee Brewers for Martin Maldonado who at the time was a career back-up catcher.

Look what happened with that move as Maldonado ended up winning a Gold Glove and he also hit for some power smacking 14 homers and driving in 38 runs while hitting .221.  Maldonado would have been better with a little more rest, but I think this season he will be much more repaired to survive and flourish in the starting role.

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Let’s see what happens with Rene Rivera as he will be a good back-up.  We will see.