Timothy W. Asks…
Whatever happened to T.J. Rivera and does he still have a role on this team?
Hey, Timothy. Thank you for the question.
When thinking about T.J. Rivera, it truly is a shame he got injured late last year and ultimately missed the entire 2018 season.
After bursting on the scene in 2016, it looked as though the Mets had a Swiss army knife in their repertoire.
In the lost season that was 2017, it’s easy to forget that Rivera actually underwent Tommy John surgery after suffering a partially torn UCL at the end of July.
It looked as though he’d return mid-season in 2018, but after suffering a couple setbacks, that didn’t come to fruition.
With new manager Mickey Callaway being tabbed, general manager Sandy Alderson stepping down, and all the drama that was this past year, Rivera got somewhat lost in the shuffle.
With that being said, yes, I do believe he still has a role on this team.
Since debuting in 2016, Rivera has proven he can get on base, and can play a majority of the positions around the diamond better than someone like Wilmer Flores can.
As much as we love Wilmer and his heroics, with the pay raise he’s slated to get, Rivera would be a more affordable option who will likely perform better offensively and defensively than Flores.
Rivera is also under team control through the 2023 season while being relatively affordable through then.
Overall, Rivera is a strong bench piece that can come in late to pinch hit, as well as spelling players every few days to get some starts under his belt.
The Mets have a lot of work to do this offseason, and do need to make some strong signings, but Rivera is a good complementary piece and someone every team should have.
Hopefully, he can stay healthy and have a strong Spring in 2019.