That collective shrug you just heard came in response to the news that the Jays had parted ways with the designated-for-assignment Juan Rivera, trading him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later or – don’t laugh – cash considerations. What does that say about Rivera that Toronto was willing to trade the 33-year old in exchange for cash considerations from a team who has filed for bankruptcy?
Nonetheless, the deal essentially boils down to the Jays giving away Rivera (why the Dodgers would take on a washed up veteran who can’t hit, can’t field and is owed $5.25 million this year is beyond me) after realizing that he wasn’t going to be eligible for Type B status as a free agent after this season. He wasn’t part of the team’s future plans and, even as an improved hitter, wasn’t going to do much for a team currently 11 games back in the AL East. Instead, he returns to the West Coast less than a year after being traded by the Angels to vie for playing time in a busy outfield against guys like Tony Gwynn Jr., Trent Oeltjen and Eugenio Velez.
Barring any surprise contributions from whatever marginal prospect the Jays get back from L.A. (if they get anyone, that is), the trade means that the Vernon Wells deal from this summer now boils down to Wells for Frank Francisco (whom Toronto acquired from Texas for Wells swap returnee Mike Napoli). Even with Francisco’s four blown saves, 5.92 ERA and $4 million owed this year, I still give the Jays the nod in that deal for getting out of that $126 million contract.
So goodbye, Rivera. We will remember you as a failed stopgap measure for a team looking to add temporary help while waiting for their young players to develop, but also as a part of one of Alex Anthopoulos’ true masterstrokes as GM.
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Written by Ben Fisher