Two More Bite The Dust: Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli Clean Out Their Lockers.

Natalie AlexandraContributor IFebruary 3, 2011

So Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera were both sent to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Vernon Wells. This leaves the Halos with Jeff Mathis, Bobby Wilson, and Hank Conger as their catchers.

Well, I’ve been expecting Napoli to leave the Angels ball club for quite some time, however, the Juan Rivera trade came as a huge surprise. Distinguished by his high contact rate and low strikeout rate, Rivera has always been a valuable asset to the Angels team. In the 2007 Venezuelan Winter Ball Classic, Juan Rivera completely shattered his leg after sliding into first and was immediately placed on the disabled list by the Angels. Although the injury kept him out for most of the 2007 season, Rivera’s determination took charge, and he managed to appear in 14 games that September before the season came to an end.

Personally, I do not harbor any hard feelings towards Vernon Wells, but it deeply saddens me to see yet another beloved fan favorite leave the Angels organization.

I’m the kind of fan who considers my favorite team a family…but that’s what they are, right? A band of brothers who travel together, win together, lose together, and more importantly, support one another. The Angels ball club is a special one, I think this became apparent to the baseball world in the days and weeks following 22 year-old Nick Adenhart’s sudden death.

The team came together to mourn the tragic loss of their teammate, their brother. They grieved as a family, and by doing so became stronger than ever by sweeping the “unbeatable” Boston Red Sox in the 2009 ALDS.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that baseball is indeed, a business before a family. At this point all we, as fans, can do is chalk it up for what it is, and treasure the memorable home-runs and amazing plays that Juan Rivera made during his time with the Angels since 2004. Best of luck in Toronto friend, knock em’ dead.

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