One of the very few positives of the Mets’ 2017 debacle has been T.J. Rivera, so it’s time he gets a shot to play every day.
At this point in the season, there is no way to sugarcoat what an absolute disaster 2017 has been for the New York Mets. Injuries, off-the-field nonsense, and underwhelming performances have put the Mets out of playoff contention before the calendar has even flipped to July.
Coming off an embarrassing 1-7 stretch against top-tier National League competition, the Nationals and Dodgers, it’s clear the Mets simply do not have what it takes to contend this season. So, it’s time for them to focus on the positives, one of which has been utility infielder T.J. Rivera.
With multiple players on the shelf and GM Sandy Alderson’s unwillingness to call up Amed Rosario (because the Mets have “good players“), it’s time for Rivera to get a consistent crack at playing every day.
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It was reported earlier this week that the Mets are considering playing Asdrubal Cabrera at second base when he returns from the DL. For the sake of keeping Jose Reyes at short, this seems like a big mistake. Reyes is clearly well past his prime, so it would make more sense to play Cabrera at short and give Rivera a chance to play second base every day until Neil Walker returns from his injury.
Rivera, the 28-year-old Bronx native, has been nothing but consistent since getting a shot at the MLB level. His sample size is still small, but in 82 career games with the Mets, he has a .297 batting average to go along with a .328 OBP.
Heck, he even got a hit off of Madison Bumgarner in last year’s NL Wild Card Game.
This season, Rivera is batting .269 with a .315 OBP through 147 plate appearances. He has not shown much power, but he is aggressive and makes a lot of contact, which is something that could benefit the Mets at the top of the order both this season and in the future.
Despite not being a terrific defender, he has been solid at second base in his limited time with the Mets. In 217.1 career innings at second base, Rivera has not made a single error. Compare that to his time at third, a more difficult defensive position, where he has made five in just 146.1 innings.
Rivera is not a superstar, and he likely will never develop into one, unless he goes full Daniel Murphy or Justin Turner. However, his ability to make contact at the plate makes him an intriguing option. If he gets exposed with increased playing time, then it will be clear his role moving forward should be a utility/bench spot. For now, he should get a chance to start without fear of being sent to the minors yet again.
The Mets’ roster is filled with question marks, and change is surely to come after this season. With all the injuries and problems the team has endured this year, Rivera should get a chance to prove he can be part of the solution.