Yesterday, the Yankees signed 34-year-old outfielder Juan Rivera to a minor league contract, as first reported by ESPN. He will be expected to compete against Russ Canzler and Matt Diaz for a spot as a reserve outfielder and an extra right-handed bat.
Yankee fans may remember Rivera, as he played for the Bombers from 2001-2003. He appeared in 88 games during that time, hitting .262 with 8 home-runs and 32 RBI’s. A modest start to what has been a modest Major League career.
His best years came in Anaheim, where he played from 2005-2010. His best season occurred in 2006, where he batted .310, with 23 home-runs and 85 RBI’s. Last season, Rivera played for the Dodgers and did not have much success. He hit .244 with only 9 home-runs in 109 games.
This move follows suit with what the Yankees have done this offseason. Ideally, the Yankees wanted to limit their payroll for the future, so they have not attempted to break the bank with any moves this offseason. Instead, they have relied on cheaper players and shorter deals. Not your typical Yankees offseason, but that’s what happens when you have large, long-term deals to players like Jeter, Rodriguez, Teixeira and Sabathia on the books. However, it is not like the Yankees are strapped for cash, they simply wanted to be smarter with their money and avoid having too many long-term deals on the team. I wouldn’t expect every offseason to be like this one.