The Mets released infielder T.J. Rivera, per Newsday’s Tim Healey (via Twitter). Rivera was attempting to work his way back from Tommy John surgery in September of 2017, but was struggling to get back to full strength. He played parts of two seasons with the Mets after making his debut in 2016.
Rivera, 30, hasn’t played in the big leagues since July of 2017 when he was placed on the injured list with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He came back in July of last season for a 6 game rehab stint, collecting three singles and a double in twenty-two at-bats in the minor leagues, but he did not see any game action after that. His release comes after a setback in his elbow recovery, through GM Brodie Van Wagenen also points to the infield depth both at the major and minor league levels as cause for his release, per the New York Post’s Mike Puma (via Twitter).
Across his two seasons with the Mets, Rivera hit .304/.335/.445 in 344 plate appearances. He split his time fairly evenly between second, third and first base, though he also handled a few innings in left. His release doesn’t come as a total surprise, as Van Wagenen is correct in that the Mets are fairly flush with this type of player. Still, with Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier both getting banged up this spring, and there being at least a modicum of uncertainty around J.D. Davis’ ability to produce consistently at third, it’s a shame to see Rivera unable to get healthy enough to compete for at-bats. As is, Adeiny Hechavarria and Jeff McNeil are both capable of backing up multiple infield positions, while Dilson Herrera, Gavin Cecchini, Arismendy Alcantara, Luis Guillorme and a few others are all competing to crack the Opening Day roster.