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Mets, Rene Rivera agree to $1.75 million deal, avoid arbitration

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The team retained Rivera, who figures to have a shot at the backup catcher role.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets
Rene Rivera hit six home runs for the Mets in 2016
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have settled with catcher Rene Rivera on a one-year, $1.75 million deal to avoid arbitration, according to Jon Heyman. The deal ends speculation that the Mets could non-tender the backup catcher.

Signed to a minor league deal before the 2015 season, the 33-year-old Rivera hit .222/.291/.341 with six home runs in 207 plate appearances while the team’s primary catchers, Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki, dealt with injuries and struggled at the plate. Rivera’s primary value comes from his defense and pitch-framing ability.

The deal likely positions Rivera to be the Mets’ backup catcher on Opening Day. In his time in the majors, he’s hit .213/.264/.332 with 26 home runs in 1,199 plate appearances. d’Arnaud heads into the season as the team’s most likely starting catcher, while Plawecki figures to at least have a chance at winning the backup catcher’s job. If not, though, he’ll likely start the season in Triple-A Las Vegas.