Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Dodgers acquire Juan Rivera
By Jon Weisman
The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired outfielder Juan Rivera and cash from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations and have designated outfielder Marcus Thames for assignment.
Rivera, who turned 33 last week, is batting .243 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 275 plate appearances this season. He had a .305 on-base percentage and .360 slugging percentage for the Blue Jays after going to Toronto from the Los Angeles Angels in the January trade that sent Vernon Wells west.
The year before, Rivera had a .312 OBP and .409 slugging for the Angels in 455 plate appearances.
He is in the final year of a three-year, $12.75 million deal, making $5.25 million this year.
The cash going to the Dodgers probably covers the remainder of Rivera's 2011 salary, roughly $2.6 million, but Colletti said that at the Blue Jays' request, he wasn't free to reveal the amount. However, the Dodgers' current financial difficulties -- the team is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy -- leave very little wiggle room to add to the payroll. The team is believed to already be within about $2 million of its cap, making it highly unlikely that Colletti would use a significant portion of what he has left more than two weeks before the trading deadline.
The 34-year-old Thames, who signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Dodgers the same week Rivera went to Toronto, was hitting .197 with two homers and seven RBIs in more than 70 plate appearances in an injury-marred season that showed him ill-suited to play in the field.
Thames had a .243 OBP and .333 slugging percentage after posting .350/.491 numbers with the Yankees in 2010, playing the majority of the time as a designated hitter.
Rivera will join a left-field mix with the struggling Dodgers that includes Tony Gwynn Jr., Trent Oeltjen and Eugenio Velez, with Jerry Sands and Trayvon Robinson in the minors.
"Juan will provide us with a right-handed hitting counterpart to Tony Gwynn Jr. and can also fill in for James Loney from time to time at first base," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said in a statement.
Dodgers left fielders have two home runs and a .618 OPS this season, the worst in the National League.
Colletti said Rivera also could occasionally spell James Loney at first.
Jon Weisman is the author of the blog Dodger Thoughts. Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Tony Jackson and The Associated Press was used in this report.