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Angels sign backup catcher Rene Rivera

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Billy Eppler keeps the moves coming

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

While not a groundbreaking move, signing Rene Rivera to a 1 year 2.8 million dollar deal pretty much seals the fate of Carlos Perez who is out of Options. Once upon a time, Perez had a potentially bright future with the Angels, and his 2015 campaign gave him a .250/.299/.356 slash line with a 38% caught stealing rate. Since then, Perez has slowly drifted away and with the signing of Juan Graterol to back up Maldanado last year, we knew the Angels had moved on from CarPe. Perez now becomes a trade candidate, though he wouldn’t fetch all that much in return. Otherwise, he’d had to clear through waivers for the Angels to stash him back in AAA. Graterol, who has options looks to be starting the year now in Salt Lake.

Rene Rivera is a decent 34-year-old backup catcher who can give Maldonado some needed days off this season. Rivera is a light hitting catcher with about average framing skills and average catching skills. His caught stealing rate over his career has been 36% with a 38% rate last season. Among catchers with 500+ innings, Rivera had a defensive rating of 7.6 in 2017 - good for 20th place (Maldonado was 3rd with 12.8).

Playing with the Mets and Cubs last year, Rivera had a decent .252/.305/.431 slashline which was about 30 points above his career rate. He also hit 10 home runs in 237 plate appearances.

Also part of all this, as Jeff Fletcher mentioned, was Nate Smith being DFA’d. Given that he is out all of 2018 due to shoulder surgery, it’s unlikely he would be claimed off waivers.