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As first reported by the ESPN NY comedy duo of Marchand and Matthews, the Yankees have signed Juan Rivera to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. No details yet on what the dollars will be if he makes the team, but Rivera will join Matt Diaz, Russ Canzler, and the litany of other internal and external candidates competing for a spot on the 2013 Yankee bench.
Rivera, now 34, started his career with the Yankees and has spent almost all of his time on the West Coast since leaving in 2003. He's a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who can moonlight as a first baseman and has a strong platoon split against left-handed pitching. He has a .274/.323/.443 career slash line (.331 wOBA) and a .286/.333/.489 career slash against lefties, but he hit just .244/.286/.375 in 339 PA with the Dodgers in 2012, and his offensive production has waned in the last few years as he's moved into his 30s and struggled with injuries.
Defensively he's not much, and could only be used in the outfield corners, and there isn't much else he brings to the table. But for the purposes he would serve with the Yankees this is as good a cheap signing as any. Rivera has a long Major League track record, a recent Major League track record, and a positive split against southpaws, which is more than you can say about some of the other guys they've brought in. Even as a player clearly in decline, Rivera falls right smack dab in the middle of the early roster battle I laid out this afternoon.