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Dodgers make it official, sign Juan Rivera for $4.5 million

November 3, 2011 |  3:30 pm

Rivera1
The Dodgers made it official Thursday, re-signing outfielder Juan Rivera to a one-year contract for $4 million. Jerry Sands was probably not doing cartwheels.

The Dodgers also have a $4-million option for next season on Rivera with a $500,000 buyout, meaning he’s essentially getting a guaranteed $4.5 million for the 2012 season.

Rivera, 33, earned $5.25 million last year with the Blue Jays, where he bombed (.243, six homers, 28 RBI in 275 at-bats) and was designated for assignment at the All-Star break.

The Dodgers, going nowhere at the time, took a small gamble and picked him up on July 12.

The former Angel prospered once back in Southern California, hitting .274 with five homers and 46 RBI in 242 at-bats.

With Rivera protecting Matt Kemp in the lineup, the Dodgers went 41-28 in the second half.

His signing probably means bad news for Sands, the Dodgers' one slugging prospect who came back from triple A to hit .342 in September.

At this kind of money, Rivera will likely be the Dodgers regular left fielder. Which also pretty much ends any thoughts of moving James Loney to left, if the Dodgers had actually signed an impact bat at first.

RELATED:

T.J. Simers: Peter O'Malley is the wrong person to lead the Dodgers' rebirth

Matt Kemp talks about Dodgers' ownership change, his future

Bill Dwyre: Commissioner Bud Selig is the winner in a game of risk

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers left fielder Juan Rivera singles against the San Francisco Giants on Sept. 22. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

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