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2018 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Rene Rivera

We won’t linger long here as there honestly is not much to talk about regarding the tenure of Rene Rivera on the Atlanta Braves.

A career back-up catcher that has played for a host of organizations including the Dodgers, Mets, Yankees, and Angels, the Braves acquired Rivera via a waiver claim in August from the Angels out of necessity. Part of the problem was that the Braves really needed to a third catcher since whoever didn’t start out of Tyler Flowers or Kurt Suzuki ended up being the team’s best bench bat because, at the time, the bench was…..suspect. The other issue is that both Flowers and Suzuki have a penchant for getting hit by pitches and if either player would need to miss some time, they could find themselves in a bit of a pickle.

So what did Rivera’s tenure as a Brave look like? He played in three games and made a total of four plate appearances. He did not reach base in any of those plate appearances.

However, the Braves decided that due to their bench issues, carrying Rivera on the postseason roster was the best course of action. He did not make an appearance in the Braves opening round loss to the Dodgers.

Bottom line, what did Rivera do in 2018? Had four hitless plate appearances for the Braves and slashed .244/.287/.439 in 30 games (87 plate appearances) with the Angels.

Will he be on the roster in 2019? Unlikely. The Braves didn’t play him at all as the 2018 team was constituted and it looks like they are looking for someone to be their primary catcher with Tyler Flowers already in the fold for 2019. Never say never, because if the Braves somehow go back to the old Flowers/Suzuki battery and don’t improve the bench (unlikely), then a third catcher might be needed and at least the Braves know Rivera. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that possibility though.

What will he do next year? He will get a spring training invite somewhere because he has experience catching in the major leagues and can hit a little bit, but it will be more of a backup/minor league contract type situation than anything else.

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