The Braves were awarded catcher Rene Rivera off waivers from the Angels, the teams announced Wednesday.
Rivera, 35, joins an organization lacking veteran catching depth. The Braves plan to carry three catchers when rosters expand Sept. 1, but after recently designating Chris Stewart for assignment, the team lacked a seasoned third option.
“You always bring up a catcher in September,” manager Brian Snitker said. “This is an established guy who’s been pretty productive. I know a lot of guys who’ve been around him really liked the guy. That’s a good sign.”
The Angels allowed Rivera to leave without compensation from the Braves. The team assumes his remaining salary, roughly $500K, through the end of the season. He will backup the Kurt Suzuki-Tyler Flowers tandem, more easily allowing whichever isn’t catcher to pinch-hit later in games.
Known more for his defense, Rivera slashed .244/.287/.439 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 30 games. He’s well-traveled, previously playing for the Mariners, Twins, Padres, Rays, Mets and Cubs.
“He’s a veteran catcher, one of those catcher guys,” Snitker said, jokingly. “A modern-day Sal Fasano (Braves catching coach).”
The Braves added further bench help later in the day, acquiring slugger Lucas Duda from the Royals for cash considerations. When Rivera and Duda are added, that will fill the Braves’ 40-man roster. They could still open spots if they elect to add players who aren’t already on that list (Austin Riley, Kyle Wright and/or other waiver claims).