René Rivera

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Rene Rivera Rivera

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Biographical Information[edit]

Rene Rivera was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 2nd round of the 2001 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Pedro Grifol and made his pro debut that summer.

he reached the majors with the Mariners at the end of the 2004 season, but played only intermittently in three years in the Pacific Northwest, never getting as many as 100 at-bats. he hit a solid .396 in 16 games in 2005, but followed that with a .152 average in 2006 and then spent 2007 to 2010 in the minors. On May 7, 2011, with the Minnesota Twins, Rivera appeared in a major league game for the first time since September 26, 2006. The Twins were scrambling to find a replacement for an injured Joe Mauer, but Rivera failed to grab the job as he hit only .144 in 45 games and then spent the entire 2012 season back in the minors. It looked at that point like he had lost his last shot at regular major league playing time, but he got himself back on track in 2013 when he did all right when called up to the San Diego Padres, hitting .254 in 23 games as a back-up.

In 2014, he was the opening day catcher for the Padres, the first time he had received the honor during his career. On April 28th that year, he had the best game of his career, driving in 5 runs thanks to a three-run homer - his first since 2011 - and a two-run double to lead the Padres to a 6-4 win over the San Francisco Giants. He ended up playing a career-high 103 games that season, as he shared the catching duties with Yasmani Grandal and hit 18 doubles and 11 homers, in addition to a .252 average and 44 RBIs. These numbers were even more impressive given the extremely difficult offensive context of PETCO Park that season, as shown by his OPS+ of 117. Grandal also had a very solid season in context, but the Padres decided to move in another direction in 2015 and traded both catchers in the off-season. On December 17th, Rene was sent to the Tampa Bay Rays along with four other players, in a deal that brought C Ryan Hanigan, OF Wil Myers and two prospects to San Diego.

Rene was Tampa Bay's main catcher in 2015, and while he did fine with the glove, the bat wasn't there. In 110 games, he hit only .178 with 5 homers and 26 RBIs, for an OPS+ of 35. He lost the job to rookie Curt Casali in mid-season, but Casali was hurt in late August, forcing Tampa to keep playing Rivera even though he was an offensive black hole. In 2016, he was with the New York Mets, backing up Travis d'Arnaud alongside Kevin Plawecki. He hit .222 with 6 homers and 26 RBIs in 65 games, improving his OPS+ to 70 and was selected to start the National League Wild Card Game against the San Francisco Giants on October 5th. It was his first postseason appearance and he went 1 for 3, singling off Madison Bumgarner in the 3rd before being wiped out in a double play as the Mets lost the game, 3-0. He was back with the Mets in 2017 and in 4 games hit .230 with 8 homers and 23 RBIs. On August 19th, he was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs, who had placed starter Willson Contreras on the disabled list ten days earlier and wanted a veteran to share catching duties with Alex Avila while the young star was out of action. In his first game with the Cubs on August 20th, he went 1 for 3 and scored a run in a 6-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

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