New York Yankees: Bombers and Juan Rivera Agree to 1-Year Minor League Deal

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IJanuary 28, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Juan Rivera #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a single to score the game winning run for a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Two weeks ago, we discussed the possibility of bringing back Juan Rivera to the New York Yankees.

The Yankees needed a right-handed bat to be their fourth outfielder and 57 percent of you thought getting Rivera was a good idea.

On Monday, the Yankees brought back their former prospect on a one-year, minor league deal with an invite to spring training, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York.

The 34-year-old spent the 2012 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, hitting .244 with nine home runs and 47 RBI in 109 games for Don Mattingly's bunch.

Rivera was a part of the trade that sent him and Nick Johnson to the Montreal Expos in exchange for Javier Vazquez in the winter of 2003.

He'll come in and compete with former Braves outfielder Matt Diaz and Indians outfielder Russ Canzler for the fourth outfield spot that was vacated by Andruw Jones, who signed with a Japanese team this winter.

The Yankees also have their DH spot open, which was vacated by Raul Ibanez's departure this winter when he went back to the Mariners. If Rivera makes the team, he could be used at that spot as well as hitting primarily against left-handed pitching.

On a minor-league deal, bringing in Rivera is a low-risk move with the potential of a high reward if he can be anywhere near the hitter he once was.

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During his prime years with the Los Angeles Angels, Rivera averaged 20 home runs and 80 RBI. As a part-time player, Rivera usually averaged around 10-15 home runs and 50-55 RBI, which would be what the Yankees are looking for.

The Yankees were linked to New York Mets outfielder Scott Hairston for most of the winter, but with him signing with the Chicago Cubs last week, the Yankees had to turn to other alternatives, which is why they've brought in Rivera..

The Yankees didn't make an aggressive attempt on Hairston because of his demands of looking for a two-year deal in free agency.

Personally, I like the move for Rivera, as it's another of Brian Cashman's under-the-radar flexes, just like the ones he made with Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Eric Chavez.

When Rivera was a prospect with the Yankees, he never got the full opportunity to be a potential starter with the team and was shipped out when he was very young.

Now back as a veteran, Rivera can try to resurrect his career with the team he began his career with. 


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