René Rivera Signed As Possible Backup

It's hardly the attention-grabber that other player quests are but for the Dodgers it's one that seems to need attention. True, Russell Martin being the kind of player he's become would probably go in there every day if you'd ask him but, no, a second-string catcher is something you can't do without.

Only right now that's where the Dodgers stand in the matter. Mike Lieberthal filled the role last year, then Chad Moeller was obtained late to help out a bit. But both have opted for free agency. What's more, the receivers on the top farm teams have done the same.

Ken Huckaby was the main man for Las Vegas. He's a free agent. So is Octavio Martinez, who backed him up. So, for that matter, is Angelo Concepcion who did a lot of catching for Jacksonville.

That leaves A. J. Ellis , who was the primary Jacksonville catcher as the only one left from that group. And he wasn't regarded highly enough to be promoted to the 40-man roster. The only catcher who was brought up was Luke May, who has only one year on the job and who played high A at Inland Empire so he won't be asked to spell Martin any time soon.

The requirements are usually that he can handle the defensive end, knows how to handle pitchers and can throw well. Any hitting is secondary. So, that's what the Dodgers are currently seeking and they seem to have found a qualified candidate already.

He's René Rivera, a Puerto Rican who was the second-round draft choice of the Mariners in 2001 who rose to become their reserve catcher in 2005. However, he was dropped back to West Tennessee this past season and wound up becoming a free agent.

Rivera has the reputation of one who has a superior arm and who is a skilled defensive player. He's built along the lines of Yogi Bear rather than Yogi Berra but he's quick. What he isn't is a hitter of any great regard and his .214 mark with West Tennessee finished him as far as Seattle was concerned.

The Dodgers, though, have signed him as a free agent and barring the return of Lieberthal or Moeller or the signing of someone who fits the mold even more, right now, he could be considered the favorite to take over the few times Martin needs a rest.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories