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Padres released Ruben Rivera 15 years ago

Al Bello/Getty Images

This day in 2001, after four disappointing seasons in San Diego, one-time uber-prospect Ruben Rivera was cut loose by the Padres. Rivera had been acquired in April of 1997 in the trade that sent Hideki Irabu to the Yankees, back when the word "potential" was still attached to his name. A classic five-tool prospect, Rivera never put them all together with the Friars or elsewhere, although he did show some power and nothing else offensively in his two years as a starter, along with deriving most of his minimal value with his glove.

In his time with the Padres, Rivera hit just .204/ .301/ .397 with 46 home runs in 1180 plate appearances over 394 games. A week after being released by San Diego, he was picked up by the Reds, for whom he performed passably as a fourth outfielder that season. He returned to the Yankees in the spring of 2002, but was released after allegedly stealing Derek Jeter's equipment and selling it to a memorabilia dealer - one of two incidents that would come to define Rivera. From there he signed on with Texas, where he played 69 less-than-nice games, and made his final big league stop in San Francisco in 2003, where he made 31 lackluster appearances for the defending National League champions.

After a ribbon was tied on his big league career, Rivera headed to the Mexican League, where he stayed... and stayed... and stayed. Playing with less pressure and against a lesser caliber of opposition, Rivera thrived for a dozen seasons, finally retiring last July. Despite his success there, Rivera will always be remembered in general as a bust, and specifically for the glove theft as well as a mystifyingly incompetent display he committed at the tail-end of his days in the majors.