Dodgers' latest, greatest left-field idea: Juan Rivera's in, Marcus Thames is out
Jeez, not even a little, "Welcome back, Steve!"
Just -- boom! -- off the boat and a deal is made. One of those yeah-I-guess, why-not? deals.
The Dodgers picked up Juan Rivera from the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday and designated Marcus Thames for assignment. That poor All-Star game, overshadowed by the Dodgers again.
Not exactly the kind of move to turn a season around, since these days Rivera and Thames seem pretty much the same guy, but safe to say the original plan hadn’t worked out so well.
That was Jay Gibbons and Thames, a makeshift platoon in left field when the Dodgers couldn’t stumble into any other solution.
Gibbons struggled with vision problems, never could get it going, was designated for assignment June 6 and ultimately accepted a triple-A gig at Albuquerque, where he remains today (.293, 3 HRs, 17 RBI).
Thames missed time with a quadriceps strain, and though he hit OK against left-handers, never could really get it rolling (.197, 2, 7) for the Dodgers.
Rivera went to the Blue Jays from the Angels in the Vernon Wells off-season deal. At least he’s a better defensive outfielder than Thames, but then so is almost every other outfielder. Plus, the right-handed Rivera can also play first.
So there’s some upside here. Rivera was hitting .243 with six home runs and 28 RBI in 247 at-bats for the Blue Jays. Two years ago, he hit 25 home runs with 88 RBI for the Angels. He’s 33.
The move does indicate, however, that the Dodgers may be attempting one final push to get back in the race after the All-Star game. With the non-waiver trading deadline looming July 31, that could be the scariest part of this move.
Rivera will become the ninth Dodger to start in left field this season.
It's so good to be back.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Juan Rivera. Credit: Jeff Roberson / Associated Press