The Guardians have hired T.J. Rivera for a coaching role, according to agent Phil Terrano of Agency 1 Sports. This brings an end to Rivera’s playing career after 11 seasons, and the veteran infielder took to Instagram to thank his family, friends, and many supporters who helped him along the way.
Rivera was an undrafted player, beginning his pro career when he signed a free agent deal with the Mets in 2011. All of his big league experience came in a New York uniform, as Rivera (a Bronx native) hit a very solid .304/.335/.445 over 344 career plate appearances with the Mets in 2016-17. Unfortunately for Rivera, he was a somewhat rare case of a position player whose career was sidetracked by Tommy John surgery, as he missed all of 2018 recovering from both his TJ procedure and more elbow problems that lingered into 2018 and 2019.
Since being let go by the Mets in 2019, Rivera caught on with the Nationals, Pirates, and (twice) with the Phillies, and he also played in Puerto Rico and in independent baseball. Another call to the bigs never came, and Rivera certainly wasn’t helped by the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season. Rivera had more good numbers at the minor league level, hitting .316/.363/.431 over 3044 PA across various affiliated teams.
At age 33, Rivera has now decided to hang up his glove, and is moving onto a new phase of his baseball career with the Guardians. We at MLBTR congratulate Rivera on a fine career and we wish him all the best in his coaching endeavors.