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Released C-R Rene Rivera [3/30]

Rivera’s out of a job just a year removed from posting 4.9 WARP with the Padres. Even the Rays probably didn’t think they were getting that Rivera when they acquired him as part of a three-teamer that sent Wil Myers to San Diego last December—PECOTA projected Rivera for a .244 True Average and 0.9 WARP in 2015, and nothing in his profile suggested that 2014’s outburst would be the new norm. On the other hand, a reasonable facsimile would have been nice. Instead Rivera’s offensive game in Tampa Bay most resembled a modern-day Mario Mendoza or—more relevantly—a poor man’s Jose Molina, as he slashed .178/.213/.275 in 319 plate appearances. Rivera’s defense also didn’t measure up to its previous standard, as his Framing Runs dipped from 22.5 in 2014 to 5.2 last year, sinking his WARP to -1.0.

Regression works both ways, of course, and provided some team thinks Rivera’s tweaked swing can get his TAv back on the good side of .200, he’ll likely latch on somewhere as a defense-first caddie. The Rays are left with the more offensively reliable Hank Conger, who was acquired in December from Houston, starting at catcher with PECOTA darling Curt Casali sliding into the backup role. The Rays can’t be happy with how the Rivera experiment turned out, but they’ll save a million bucks (and change) and move on—just business as usual. —Dustin Palmateer

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Signed CF-R Drew Stubbs to a minor-league deal, with an invite to spring training [3/31].

Drew Stubbs had a .166 TAv for the Rangers last year, and a .230 mark for the Rockies earlier in the year. That might be look-past-able, for a 31-year-old who’s shown occasional flashes of power (five seasons with 10-plus home runs), except that there’s no real indication it was anything but a normal, if especially precipitous, decline from a 2014 in which he posted a .269 and a 2013 in which he posted a .250. It’s not like Stubbs does much with the glove, either—he’s cost his teams 8.6 runs in the field since 2014, by FRAA. So this signing should be read mostly as a lottery ticket by a rebuilding club, and possibly as a bet on Stubbs’ positive clubhouse presence in the event that one of the Braves’ plethora of mediocre outfielders fails to perform (there’s also some indication that this move will alow the Braves to release Emilio Bonifacio, and his $1.25 millon salary). That’s not a terrible switch to make, both to save a little money and to bet on whatever upside remains, and the Braves are the right team to make it. Still, you’d like to not be in a position, as a team, to be making changes like this look smart. Possibly of note: Drew Stubbs was born in Atlanta, Texas. —Rian Watt

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