Thursday, March 28, 2013

Juan Rivera Released

"Sorry sir, but this bus won't take you all the way to Venezuela."

Juan Rivera was released by the Yankees, and said that the team will carry Lyle Overbay and Ben Francisco.

Rivera had a good spring batting average wise (.305), but his inability to draw walks and hit for power (.328 OBP, .390 SLG) has apparently led to the team deciding to go another way. And unlike Ben Francisco, Rivera has had plenty of opportunities, both off the bench and as a regular, to get the job done. Juan has averaged over 470 plate appearances a season over the past 4 years, while Francisco has averaged 289.

As for Ben Francisco, he had a pretty poor 2012, putting up a batting line of .240/.285/.385 in 207 plate appearances for Toronto, Houston, and Tampa Bay. However Ben has hit .333/.418/.688 this spring, so perhaps regular playing time will get him back to the guy that hit 15 home runs in 2008 and 2009. Not that he was really impressive then, but he was a serviceable player (between 2007 and 2010 his OPS+ was never lower than 104.

When it comes to the 36 year-old Lyle Overbay, I can only figure that this goes back to the Yankees liking to have veterans on their bench. It's not as though Lyle's .234/.327/.340 this spring wowed anyone, nor did his line of .259/.331/.397 last season between Arizona and Atlanta.

I imagine some people are upset about Rivera being let go, as they think he may have something left. But let's face it... he's 34 years old, and he is what he is. Juan hasn't hit above .258 in the past 3 seasons, so if you really think he could have batted close to the .305 he had in Spring Training this season then you're kidding yourself.

That's not to say either Overbay or Francisco are clearly better choices, but I'm going to trust the team on this one.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)