Angels sign Rene Rivera as backup catcher

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Free-agent catcher Rene Rivera and the Los Angeles Angels have agreed to a one-year, $2.8 million contract.

Rivera has played for six teams over nine seasons in a major league career that began with Seattle. He split last season between the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs, batting .252 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 74 games.

The 34-year-old Rivera has a strong arm behind the plate, throwing out 36.8 percent of attempted base-stealers.

He is likely to compete for the Angels' backup job behind Gold Glove winner Martin Maldonado, who is eligible for arbitration after appearing in 138 games last season.

Rivera's base salary is guaranteed, and he can earn $200,000 in performance bonuses for games started at catcher: $50,000 each for 45, 50, 55 and 60.

In another move Tuesday night, Angels left-hander Nate Smith was designated for assignment. Smith is a longtime Angels prospect. He won't pitch in 2018 after having shoulder surgery last month.