It is rare to find that backup catcher that isn’t interchangeable. The Mets, however, might have found their match.
Rene Rivera randomly came on the scene, a big reason being a veteran presence around the young catchers that the Mets had at the top of the food chain. When Travis d’Arnaud went down in 2016, the minor league Rivera came up and has quickly become an essential part of what the Mets are trying to do.
He quickly formed a camaraderie as Noah Syndergaard‘s go-to catcher, even when d’Arnaud came back. He might have only hit .222, but that was in 185 at bats. Those 41 hits seriously counted. He collected 26 runs batted in, which my immediate math says that more than half the time he was hitting something where they ain’t, he was putting a run on the board for the orange and blue. There’s a reason the Mets re-signed this guy. He immediately metamorphosed into a Met.
Article continues below ...
Rivera wore the yellow sleeve. He was the first at the top of the dugout if Asdrubal Cabrera couldn’t take the helmet off ’cause he was the one hitting a home run.
He had as much fun in his first season as a New York Met as I’ve ever seen. He belongs here.
Whether he lasts past next year is beyond me. Remember this, though. He did hit .252 with eleven home runs and forty-four runs batted in in 294 at bats for the 2014 San Diego Padres, getting on base at a .319 clip. He may get that many at bats this year, if not more.
2017 has arrived, and Rivera is front and center, in a sleeper type of way. He is as crucial to the Mets season as anybody on this team not named Yoenis Cespedes, and those pitchers of ours…ok, and some others. But still.