Though the Cubs didn’t have to give anything up for Rivera, 34, they’ll have to pay the remainder of his $1.75 million salary for 2017. The veteran will provide some extra depth behind Alex Avila as Willson Contreras recovers from a hamstring strain. It’s likely that he’ll take the place of rookie Victor Caratini, who has been solid at the plate but struggled defensively, on the 25-man roster.
Rivera, who is primarily known for his defense, is hitting .230/.278/.391 with eight homers this season.
While Rivera played second fiddle to Travis d’Arnaud in New York, he’s one of the few backup catchers who most teams would probably feel comfortable using as a starter. He served as Noah Syndergaard’s personal catcher and had started 102 games behind the plate since the beginning of the 2016 season.
The Mets’ decision to let Rivera walk continues a fire sale that began in July but has intensified in August. After trading Lucas Duda and Addison Reed before the non-waiver trade deadline, the Mets have now moved Jay Bruce, Neil Walker, Curtis Granderson, and Rivera in August. They’ve already plugged top prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith into the lineup, and now with Rivera gone, they’ll get an extended opportunity to see if former first-rounder Kevin Plawecki can be d’Arnaud’s permanent backup going forward. Plawecki, who was recalled on Saturday morning, is out of options after this season, so the Mets will soon need to make a decision regarding his future.