Tyler Emerick of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks have agreed to a minor league contract with veteran outfielder Juan Rivera.
Rivera will likely head to extended spring training for a couple of weeks before reporting to Triple-A Reno, where he will serve as organizational outfield depth for the Snakes. He was released by the Yankees just before the start of the regular season to open up a roster spot for first baseman Tyler Overbay.
Rivera, who turns 35 years old in July, batted just .244/.286/.375 across 339 plate appearances last summer with the Dodgers. He hit .295/.317/.377 in 63 plate appearances this spring in Yankees camp.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.