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Free agent Juan Rivera could find himself trading Angels for Tampa Bay Rays

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LAS VEGAS -- The Tampa Bay Rays, looking to upgrade in right field or at designated hitter, are believed to be interested in free agent Juan Rivera, who hit .246 with 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 89 games for the Angels last season but who doesn’t necessarily fit into the Angels’ plans for 2009.

Rivera made $2.025 million last season and probably deserves a multi-year deal, but his value is difficult to determine because his playing time was so limited last season and he missed most of the 2007 season recovering from a broken leg suffered the previous winter in Venezuela.

But in his last full season, 2006, Rivera hit .310 with 23 homers and 85 RBIs in 124 games, and after replacing struggling and injured right fielder Gary Matthews Jr. late last June, he hit .268 with 12 homers and 42 RBIs over the final three months of the season. He is not a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder but is proficient and has a strong throwing arm.

-- Mike DiGiovanna


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