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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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April 25, 2008 1:04 PM

Johjima signs three-year, $24 million extension

Posted by Geoff Baker

The Mariners just inked Kenji Johjima to a three-year extension through the 2011 season, which the Associated Press reports is worth $24 million. Fresh off the presses. Here's a quote from GM Bill Bavasi.

"As an organization, we view quality Major League catching as a scarce commodity,'' Bavasi said. "This extension allows us to feel very comfortable with our catching depth for the foreseeable future."

Here's the take from manager John McLaren: "Joh is a durable, intelligent catcher," McLaren said, "and he's still improving his game. It is a very tough adjustment to switch leagues from Japan, and he has done an outstanding job adapting his game to the US."

Obviously, the timing of the announcement -- given Johjima's batting stats -- could not be worse. Say hello to Jeff Clement, first baseman of the future. Or is that DH? I don't know. Feel free to discuss. I'm sure there will be plenty for you all to say. Have at it.

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Posted by Z-Bo

1:12 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I guess this allows them to not pursue a 1B next year after sexy leaves. Saves some money for a big-time DH or LF.

Posted by geezer

1:14 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Has Bavasi ever worked for FEMA? Just wondering.

Posted by Nat

1:17 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Geezer: good one!

Clement has said he does not want to play 1B. Kind of a pickle to put him in if Joh is the catcher of the future. What does that say for Clement's future with the M's?

Posted by astrosteven

1:19 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Wow, if there was one move I never thought we'd see, I guess this is it. But, as has been alluded to, Clement may not be ready to catch in the big leagues, so maybe next year he DHs, along with being the backup catcher. Then he can slowly take over from Johjima.

Posted by Bambaata

1:20 PM, Apr 25, 2008

You've got to be kidding. I can't take it anymore.

Does Bavasi have any idea what he is doing? When he drafts, does he just pick names out of a hat with no regard to what they actually can do.

He used a 1st rd pick on Clement to apparently be a DH or a 1B with no defensive skills. The reason why Clement was picked so high was because he was a CATCHER! Catchers with offensive skills are rare commodities. First baseman or DH's...not so much.

Then he uses a 1st rd pick on Morrow to be a set-up guy, meanwhile Lincecum is throwing complete game shutouts. I can't believe this guy is still allowed to make decisions for a major league baseball team. I'm guessing his wife doesn't even let him run their household budget or else he would spend 95% of their money on Oreos. More milk, less Oreos!

Posted by JI

1:24 PM, Apr 25, 2008

It's gotten to the point where this organization is so hilariously mis managed that their failures have become high comedy.

Posted by BrianL

1:26 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Well, there you have it.

The Seattle Mariners are utterly incapable of evaluating talent.

Posted by arthur

1:27 PM, Apr 25, 2008

That's it. Fire Bavasi, Fire McLaren. Armstrong? Lincoln? Do you even have a clue what is going on? You're making Clay Bennett look smart...

Posted by seatown1

1:28 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Just get Clement's bat up to Safco!!! Slip Vidro to the bench. Then use your newly signed 32 year old catcher in a platoon with Clement. Each would play every day either at DH or catcher.

Posted by swmarinersfan

1:28 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Head scratcher indeed. The price must have been right. I also heard they were finalizing the Sexson and Wilkerson extensions as well

Posted by manito

1:31 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Clement belongs on the team NOW as DH and occassional catcher. Try him at 1B in Tacoma if he is not brought up to replace Vidro.

Posted by shane/olympia

1:34 PM, Apr 25, 2008

1st thought was "What"

but then i guess it makes since

what if jeff hits the majors and can't catch or help a pitcher run a game where as loh can do that and is getting better

in the short term i hope it takes pressure off of joh and he starts hitting the ball

i still think joh kenji and johnson will all be up in the majors next year

kenji to start behind the plate

jeff at 1st/lf/DH/ emergency catcher

johnson backup catcher/pinch hitter

Posted by sparticus112b

1:36 PM, Apr 25, 2008

This is what I expected to happen, I just didn't think it was going to be for three years.

I still think they see Clement in their future for catcher. Clement's first full year with the M's will see him with most of his time at DH (maybe first) but he will also take the spot of Jamie Burke on the team and catch every Sunday and Johjima most likely will DH on those days.

Second year they will split even more time between DH and catcher. Yet a majority of the time will still go to Johjima.

Then the third year I think Clement will take the reigns if they believe he is ready and Johjima will become, purely, the back-up catcher.

I don't think it's a bad plan. If this is really what their plan is.

Posted by Stevo in Oregon

1:37 PM, Apr 25, 2008

you've got to be kidding me....

Posted by Matt

1:39 PM, Apr 25, 2008

So all of a sudden Johjima is not a good player? He's been an excellent player for us for several years now. Why shouldn't he be signed for 3 more years? It's not like he's over the hill. Nothing in his contract is likely to say that if he is beaten out, then he can't be a backup. If he's beaten out for the job, then great, we have more talent then we do now. If not, then in three years we'll all be glad the deal was made. I don't see the negative here.

Posted by Bums

1:42 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Just another head scratcher in a lineup full of money stealers with Sexson heading the pack.

Posted by Librocrat

1:43 PM, Apr 25, 2008

This may be the stupidest thing this team has ever done. They do not deserve fans. He is, by far, the worst GM on the planet. He has now outdone Brian Sabean. I do not think I've ever heard of such a stupid move.

Posted by Paul

1:43 PM, Apr 25, 2008


It's certainly possible that this is the first step in a larger move, possibly involving other players. Maybe we should wait it out until we all start stomping our feet?

Posted by Mendoza-like

1:46 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Next up on Bill Bavasi's agenda: Ink Brad Wilkerson to a long-term deal!

Posted by hazen26

1:46 PM, Apr 25, 2008

wow y not sing the real catcher bueke

Posted by tallahassee-mariner's fan

1:48 PM, Apr 25, 2008

question: does locking up a player make him a more attractive trade option? i know with bedard that had he been on K for only 1 year he would have been less attractive as a trade, since there's no guarantee we could sign him after that. is there any chance that's whats happening here?

Posted by Henry

1:48 PM, Apr 25, 2008

This move gives us options. Why not? Depending on what we paid for him, we keep him our starter this year w/ Clement coming up (soon hopefully). Clement DH's, and catches. He'll get a solid 3-4 games in a week and then we'll see if he can catch everyday. From there, you trade Johjima, Burke or Johnson w/ excess pitching (Baek, Wasburn, etc) and then pick up a legit RF.

Let's see what happens next before we bash this extension.

Posted by M's Brass Hater

1:49 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I know this can't be the case, but it seems as though Bavasi is on the Angles payroll still.
Does anyone in the M's management care?
Right Field - Joke
DH - Tripple Joke
1st base - Joke

Bring Griffey Home!

Posted by shane/olympia

1:49 PM, Apr 25, 2008

since dan wilson left the m's always trouble with a starting catcher let alone a back up know we got two solid catcher in jeff and kenji and maybe 4 if you add jaime burke and rob johnson.

i am fine with having 3 catchers on one active roster but only if the catchers have some other pupose. and jeff most def has other attributes in hitting

i would like to see kenji, jeff, burke/johnson on the team later this year or at the start of next year

i think it is in jeff's best intrest to develop skills at another postion 1b/of

i would be tight to have a power hitter that can play of/1b/catcher

Posted by Tacoma Rain

1:50 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Geoff,
Fine...take the easy way out.

Please try to explain to me how the 2010 season is not a complete lost season, unless we have a $150 million payroll. We will have 2 albatross contracts that we can not get rid of atleast...and Bavasi has not re-signed Raul YET>>>
The best is yet to come...Thanks BILL.

Posted by can you belive this?

1:50 PM, Apr 25, 2008

JUST IN
Richie Sexson inks 4 year deal with M's

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:51 PM, Apr 25, 2008

uh..well...hmmm...

Is Clay Bennett interested in a baseball team too?

What's the chances that the Mariners are some kind of experiment to see how people react when dumb decisions are continuously made?

Posted by ron

1:51 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Matt seems to be the only guy on here who thinks this is a good move--but so do I. Strong defensive catchers are a scarce commodity. Joh will be 32 this summer--so he's still in his prime. He isn't hitting now but his track record says he can hit. This also doesn't slam the door on Clement--if he can learn to play defense, then they trade one of them.

Posted by Collegefan

1:52 PM, Apr 25, 2008

This move doesn't make a lot of sense, unless they are sure that Clement is not able to handle catching duties full time.

If that's the case, then Clement should be brought up ASAP to DH. Yes, Vidro hit a ball far over Adam Jones' head. Great. If Clement has no future as a Mariners catcher, as this move implies, then he has nothing left to learn in AAA, and should be brought up immediately.

Say hello to Jeff Clement, our full-time catcher next year after Sexson leaves.

As a side note, why not try Reed out in RF? The guy is hitting above .300 again, and is a stellar fielder....

Posted by salemdawg

1:52 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Clement was NOT drafted because he was a catcher - he was drafted because he has a great bat.

Posted by xarmyguy

1:53 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Posted by scottM

1:53 PM, Apr 25, 2008

This is not nearly as bad a move as keeping Wilkerson around, or letting Vidro languish. They are right that Joh IS an excellent defensive catcher who is learning to call better games. Offensively, however, he always tries to pull the ball too much. Pentland and Elias have these great reputations as hitting instructors. Time for those guys to start earning their keep and living up to the hype. Joh, Wilkerson, and Vidro are grossly underperforming, and our early season patient batters are back to last year's hack-attack form.

And speaking of bench coaches, why does Stottlemeyer wait SO long before going out to settle down his young relievers. It's like he enjoys watching them twist in the wind.

Posted by shane/olympia

1:55 PM, Apr 25, 2008

ron-

i am also a fan of the move you can't have to many good cacthers

teams either have soild catchers or are in the market for a catcher

i think rob johnson will eventually be moved in a trade

Posted by m's frustrated fan

1:56 PM, Apr 25, 2008

To Salemdawg:
You said:
1:52 PM, Apr 25, 2008
Clement was NOT drafted because he was a catcher - he was drafted because he has a great bat.

My reply: And Tacoma needs a great bat?

Posted by Novice

1:56 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Im guessing this move has alot to do with not getting Dauber of waivers. I mean signin Joh with Daubers stats compiled isnt exactly clear cut.

Posted by Anthony

1:56 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Well, all I can say is this better not guarantee him the starting job. As a poster above said, the reason Clement was drafted was because we needed a catcher. We passed on players like Tulowitzki and Cameron Maybin and while both of those players are now in the pros, we keep Clement down in AAA to be the catcher of the future but then you go and re-sign your catcher... wtf ARE YOU DOING?! This better lead to Clement's call-up and regular playing time between DH and catcher for him. Clement's defense is constantly improving and I certainly can't see it as any worse than Johjima's. Then when you look at their offense Clement takes the cake by far. So hopefully Clement wins the starting job down the line and Johjima is either trade bait or a good backup catcher.

Please, just don't further ruin this team by holding Clement down longer. This kid is special and can be a valuable piece to our team THIS SEASON. Call him up!!

Posted by Bums

1:56 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Should we expect to see new a 5 year $100 million contract for Sexson soon? Could be his reward if he can get half as many hits as strikeouts this year.

Posted by KMD

1:57 PM, Apr 25, 2008

The reaction 'round the blogosphere is hilarious. If Kenji hadn't yet had an at-bat in '08, and if the annual total was near fair market value, everyone (read: EVERYONE) would be praising the extension. Kenji's production in the first two years of his MLB career is nothing short of stellar, especially considering the league switch and the position.

3.5 weeks. Yeah, Kenji's looked lost at the plate, but you can't tell me that his BABIP will stay where its at. If anything, I'm glad to see that Joh's struggled so far this season, as perhaps it'll force him to transcend his main weakness at the plate - drawing a walk or two every now and then. Though the dollar amount hasn't been leaked, yet - put me in the PRO-EXTENSION camp.

Oh, and I'm all for that DH/C platoon with Jazzy Jeff. Make it so.

Posted by matakovi

1:58 PM, Apr 25, 2008

How can so many people be so clueless, can't you see the benefits of having a proven catcher on the team and be able to bring in the rookie at a slow pace rather than all at once? Everyone is way too big on results now, show some patience!

Posted by Jason

1:59 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I give up! Bambaata nailed it.

The TNT just did a big feature today on Clement and how he is ready for the bigs. And what does Bavasi do? Sign the weakest hitting catcher in all of baseball who calls a terrible game for three more years.

Did you catch the quote from Dickey lat week after giving up the bases clearing triple to Tori Hunter last week? He said he knew he should have shook off Kenji for calling for a fastball on that pitch...especially since he's a knuckleballer with a weak fastball.

With the 3rd pick in the deepest draft in years we get a tough commodity (a good lefty hitting catcher)....then immediately sign a catcher that will be our starter for 6 years!

This team will continue to exasperate us for years. The hope was that at least next year Sexson and Vidro would be gone. But it looks like Vidro's contract will vest and he will be the worst DH in baseball.

So we have the weakest hitting catcher, DH, and left fielder....Couple that with the worst bullpen in baseball. Ahh, Mariner Magic....Feel the Mojo!

Posted by Bums

1:59 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I am thinking Bavasi should trade Clement for some washed up closer. Is Timlin still around? Heck, we don't young guys anyway, they don't make enough.

Posted by Mike

2:00 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I'm confused more than angry. I think Kenji, current struggles aside, is pretty good. I'm not so sure he'll still be good in 2010 and 2011 though.

And this blocks Clement. Once again the Mariners seemingly waste a high draft pick. Clement as a firstbaseman would not have been anywhere near the number 5 pick, just as Morrow as a set-up man should not have been a #6.

I have no idea if this means Clement is about to become the DH or trade bait. I'd love for him to try first base but I have no idea how he'd be there. If at all decent that would still leave open the possibility of moving Raul to DH when it finally dawns on the Ms that Raul has no range and should be preserved only to hit.

And the trade possibility scares the bejeesus out of me. I'm sure Bill, finding himself with an asset he feels he needs to trade will go out and get Griffey or something.

You live through a few of the deals Bavasi has done and you worry, you worry a lot.

Posted by KMD

2:02 PM, Apr 25, 2008

[quote]he's a knuckleballer with a weak fastball[/quote]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrjwaqZfjIY[/youtube]

Posted by Mike

2:03 PM, Apr 25, 2008

"Clement was NOT drafted because he was a catcher - he was drafted because he has a great bat."

This isn't true. We were about to draft Tulowtzki and even told Troy we were going to. But we went with Clement because we needed a catcher. Then before the next season we signed Johjima. Great write up on this in a recent SI.

Posted by Jared

2:05 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I like Johjima and don't think signing him to a 3yr extension is too bad as long as his batting gets going, but i really hope this doesn't mean Jeff Clement is now trade bait. He should be playing at Safeco tonight DH'ing. He could swap DH with Vidro and backup Johjima as well. Makes sense, get that bat in our line-up. And do not trade away another awesome prospect!

Can we win a game tonight!?!?!? Batista, share your secret with our bullpen.

Posted by Tacoma Rain

2:07 PM, Apr 25, 2008

KMD, Ron, Matt...and others with this view have no concept of age.
Do any of you nknow why Shaun Alexander was released by the Seahawks recently. Because AGE eventually effects preformance, especially at very physically demanding positions.
Historically, catchers are reasonably good until age 31 - 32. Joh dropping off in production at 32 is not a surprise. Joh may reboind a little bit, but his best days are definitely behind him.
HOWEVER, Expecting Joh to a productive member of a major league baseball team at 35 is just flat out stupid...especially when you realize that has been so over worked the past 3 years.
There is no reasonable excuse for Bavasi to be a GM. He has no concept of how to value players.

Posted by shane/olympia

2:08 PM, Apr 25, 2008

jason

don't bring dickey a crappy pitcher who had to change his whole piching to style to this knucleball bs to try and make it into the league

dickey could fall off the face of the world and no M's fan would care

so when kenji makes a call and dickey goes with it and it gets hammered its not all kenji's fault because he didn't throw the pitch

so jason i guess kenji should be gone since he made one bad call to a bs pitcher

Posted by Novice

2:10 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Im guessing this move has alot to do with not getting Dauber of waivers. I mean signin Joh with Daubers stats compiled isnt exactly clear cut.

Posted by shane/olympia

2:11 PM, Apr 25, 2008

tacoma rain

did you just compare kenji to shuan alexander?

differnt sports

one is a puss one is not

little more contact in the nfl

we had dan wilson till he was 40 or so

jeff could come up now and have a 15 year caeer

Posted by KirklandDawg

2:20 PM, Apr 25, 2008

KJ has hit a very respectable .290 his first two seasons with the M's, is above average defensively, and calls a good game. what's wrong with that? By signing him for three years, weget insurance in case Jeff struggless. Worst case, we trade him. Lets get Jeff up sooner than later and start finding out. KJ deserves a little lack here.

Posted by MJ

2:21 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Shane-

Dan Wilson retired at age 36. Catchers get banged up more than any other position. that was the point. Maybe you should get a clue before you attack others with false statements and outrageous claims.

Posted by Tacoma Rain

2:21 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Shane....How many catchers have caught in 100 games in a season after they turned 34, and had played in excess of 1500 games in their careers????
ZERO!!!!
Joh caught a heck of a lot of games in Japan. He is NOT a young 32 year old catcher. HE IS A VERY OLD 32 YEAR OLD CATCHER....

Posted by Chris from Bothell

2:25 PM, Apr 25, 2008

No panic here at all. More control over player = more ability to trade, and to set his market value. Joh's past performance, not 08 start, determines his overall value. And as others pointed out, Jeff Clement could be the next All Star, or the next Bucky Jacobson. Insurance isn't bad, given the catchers that are available now.

Still think Clement should be up here catching twice a week and DHing the rest.

Posted by KikrlandDawg

2:26 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Miguel Tejada says Joh IS already 35.

Posted by MJ

2:28 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Why not call up Clement and platoon him the way the Angels are doing with Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli. Both guys are tearing the cover off the ball. Getting Clement up here with little pressure while giving preserving Kenji so he can actually fulfill that contract isn't the worst idea ever. The nights Kenji is catching, have Clement DH to keep his bat in the lineup and everything works out great. I don't think there is a huge problem with this extension as long as they still bring up Clement this year.

Posted by Matt the Disgruntled Mariner Fan

2:28 PM, Apr 25, 2008

First Off Johjima doesnt call a good game. He is horrible in that respect. Second, overall his defense is not good. Third this anger by all of us mariner fans is not because of Johjima's pathetic start. Even if he was hitting .300 and had a bomb or two I still don't want him back next year. Clement is ready, he should already be in uniform. Not to mention Adam Moore is going to be great! A platoon of Adam Moore and Clement at C/DH was something I was really looking forward to, thanks again Bavasi you schmuck! One last thing this whole Clement 1B thing is stupid! The kid has never played first much less infield in a long time. Maybe he was a shortstop in little league! So no more of this first base talk its stupid and makes no logical sense. Plus Bryan LaHair is going to have a big year and win the job next year at first base!

Posted by MJ

2:29 PM, Apr 25, 2008

"Miguel Tejada says Joh IS already 35."

Totally LOL'd ... HA!

Posted by Nick

2:30 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Good move, especially since Clement really is an average at best defensive catcher, and I really don't think the M's can afford to have another 2 year adjustment period with a young catcher while he builds a rapport with a young pitching staff. Add on to to that, the M's just spent a good deal of young pitching and offense to get Bedard and signed Silva. Keep them all on the same page and continue building the chemistry between the pitchers and catchers and get after it!

Posted by MJ

2:36 PM, Apr 25, 2008

"Good move, especially since Clement really is an average at best defensive catcher".

-You sure about this statement? If you are, the same can be said about Kenji.

"Keep them all on the same page and continue building the chemistry between the pitchers and catchers"

-This is a ridiculous statement. We're not talking about QB's and WR's here. It's not like Kenji is running routes and they need to keep their timing up. We are talking about professional pitchers and catchers, one throws the pitch the other catches it. A little discussion on what the pitcher likes to throw in certain situations is all that's really necessary to stay on the same page.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

2:38 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Bavasi drafts for need in Clement and pass up on Troy Tulowitski so they re-sign Johjima for 3 years today?

I like Johjima, but re-signing him now and not evaluating after the year is done is ridiculous, especially since he has shown signs of slowing down the past 2 years.

So what next , Sexson gets and extension?, and Clement is traded for a veteran bat at the deadline?

Unbelievable stupidity by the game's worst GM. I wonder if the USSM bloggers want to take back attending those Bavasi fan-fests where Bavasi was the guest of honor.

Bill Bavasi will continue to burn down the farm in order to get veteran players.

Posted by fred

2:41 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Bad timing is right. Next Bavasi will announce the extension of Ibanez' contract until such time as he can play outfield only in a wheelchair.

Suppose Bavasi disappeared tomorrow? What might his successor do? How about putting Sexson, Vidro, Wilkerson. Cairo, Norton and Rhodes on immediate waivers and dealing any to another club willing to trade a used catcher's mitt for them. Then calling up Clement, Balentien and Jimerson from AAA and putting the first two immediately into the starting lineup---Clement either at first base, DH or catcher; Balentien in RF.

This team is flat, lacks energy and will not improve if aging journeymen are kept too long in the lineup.
If McLaren cannot motivate them, he should also be gone in short order.

Posted by Dignan

2:43 PM, Apr 25, 2008

It's '97 all over again. Bavasi will pull a woodward and trade this guy at the deadline...just like woodward did to Jason effin Varitek.

Why does Bavasi love extending marginal aging players???

Posted by Mike

2:49 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I think the USSM guys differentiate between Bavasi the person and the ridiculous moves he's made.

No Bavasi defense over there.

Posted by DC

2:52 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I am mystified by people who are mystified by this move. The only way it is the "stupidest move ever" (as some proclaim) is if you really think Johjima will have no trade value at whatever price is new contract is.

The contract for Joh doesn't block Clement. It gives the M's a back-up plan in case Clement doesn't work out. If Clement is a roaring success, you either have an overpriced back-up or a starting catcher who has hit .290 who can be traded. I don't see how keeping Joh under contract is unwise. When (or if) Clement becomes a regular starter, why just let Johjima go via free agency without getting something in return?

Posted by seavet

2:52 PM, Apr 25, 2008

How can everyone be so right and yet in so much disagreement?

I think a trade is in the offing. I hope most of us will like it.

Posted by AC

2:54 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Kenji calls a good game and is above average defensively. People are just frustrated that he's struggling offensively so they nitpick about every little mistake he makes so they can justify bringing Clement up in their own minds. If he were hitting .300 nobody would be complaining about his defense.

That said, Clement deserves to be brought up and will need a new position to play and since catcher is locked up for the next few years it looks like DH or 1B. Even if he doesn't want to play either position he's probably going to have to accept it. Lots of players have said they don't want to switch positions, yet end up doing it anyways.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

2:55 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Wow...

I guess all this talk about Clement not being ready for the MLB defensively can now end. So, when is Jeff coming up?

If he's not the catcher, then what is the FO waiting for?

Posted by joe

2:57 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Maybe this is just writing on the wall that a trade is going to be made. Maybe Bavasi has plans to move Johjima and he will be easier to trade now that he won't become a free-agent at the end of the year.

OR maybe Bavasi has plans for a trade that involves Clement and wants the "security" of having a Johjima around for the next three years.

Just some thoughts outside the box
(if someone already posted something similar I apologize for the redundancy)

Posted by Big Ebu

2:58 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I’d be interested in seeing if this is a 3-year guaranteed contract or 2-years plus a team option with a buy-out for 2011. The latter case could be part of a transition plan where Clement takes an increasingly larger role in 2009 and 2010 and they cut Kenji loose in 2011.

What worries me is that this signing indicates that the FO is unsure if Clement will ever develop into a serviceable starting MLB Catcher. If so, then this makes the decision to “reach” for him in the 2005 draft a bad one.

Posted by byronebyronian

2:58 PM, Apr 25, 2008

You know what? Maybe Joh resigned so he can be dealt? It's not unheard of.

Posted by Bill

2:59 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Barbara Heges, Rick Neuheisel, Ken Bering, Clay Bennet, Bill Bavasi.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

3:00 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Ebu, They had to take him. Offensive catchers are rare.

Maybe they overvalued their coaching staff's ability to get him trained to be an everyday MLB Catcher?

Posted by joe

3:01 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Geoff - gotta love the Kenny Rogers reference in the last post, but now I have that damn song stuck in my head : )

and yesterday I had the Welcome Back Kotter theme song stuck in my head, What's goin On?

oh hey there's a better song to hum, kinda fits what's up with the M's right now "What's goin on? What's goin on?"

Posted by Scott

3:01 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Unreal.

Last I heard they were really working on Clement as a catcher, so I don't buy the 1B/DH theory.

What is next? 3 years/$40M for Sexson?

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

3:02 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I don't mind if Ibanez is resigned as long as he understands he is the everyday DH going forward. I have no doubt he can keep raking.

Posted by Mike

3:03 PM, Apr 25, 2008

DC---To a great degree you are correct. If Billy Beane had done this many would be thinking right along with you. If Bavasi is suddenly exhibiting the ability to give himself flexibility I applaud the effort.

But given that most of his moves take away flexibility, I am dubious. As for back-up plans, well, once again I'm dubious.

Posted by joe

3:05 PM, Apr 25, 2008

THIS JUST IN!!!! Bavasi signs SEXSON, VIDRO & IBANEZ each to a 5 year 50 million extension!!!

Posted by dl

3:06 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Is Bavasi a golfer? He knows this isn't a lowest-score-wins kind of game, right?

Posted by Ben

3:16 PM, Apr 25, 2008

honestly, do that many fans not like Kenji? Because he's not hitting a ton this year? Because you love a minor leaguer that can't play his position and hasn't really even played much at the major league level? Kenji calls a very good game and is a great catcher.

If Clement came up and was akin to Ben Davis/Miguel Olivo behind the plate, our team would suck even more.

this is a good move. Forget whatever Clement thinks - if he's going to be a 1B/DH, then that's where he'll play. Occassionally he can spell Kenji too.

Posted by statboysdad

3:28 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Wow great move!!! Think about this people. You now have a super back up catcher that can still learn his craft and he can DH and play 1st!!! Yes wow!! You don't need to carry that 2nd catcher now. Extra pitcher, or a older established bat or ??? Great possiblities. But for now keep Burke as bench hitting help, get rid of Wilkerson and Vidro
bring up Vlad and Clement!!!! Good job Bavasi your on a roll!!

Posted by Adam

3:33 PM, Apr 25, 2008

1. I am surprised that they gave Johjima three years. He'll be 35 at the end of the deal. Catchers do not age well.

2. Jeff Clement is no longer as valuable as he was a couple of hours ago. Big-hitting 1Bs are easier to find than big-hitting Cs. This team is now worse off in the future thanks to this move.

3. This has to mean that Bavasi and Co. do not believe Clement can catch in the majors. If they deny it, they are either lying or they are ignorant.

4. If Clement is not the catcher of the future for the M's, can we please get him up here? NOW?


Bill Bavasi strikes again.

Posted by Choska

3:38 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Deck chairs. Titanic.

Watching Bavasi scramble to do ""something - while the ship sinks beneath his feet - is pathetic.

The only question left is how much damage is done before the end. Kind of reminds me of a certain Presidential candidate, or a certain President.

Posted by ams

3:38 PM, Apr 25, 2008

To those of you who think its just M's fans perplexed about this, here's a national take. From Rotoworld:

"The Mariners are set to sign Kenji Johjima to a three-year extension, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports.

Well, then they might as well call up Jeff Clement and make him their DH right now. He won't have a future at catcher in the organization with Johjima locked up through 2011. This could prove to be the biggest blunder yet from Bill Bavasi, which is really saying something. Johjima has been just terrible at the plate, and has looked at least as bad as the numbers (.200/.268/.246) suggest. Signing him through his age-35 season has the potential for disaster. Apr. 25 - 3:49 pm et"

Notice the shot at Bavasi? That's coming from a typically objective national perspective, not "whiny" M's fans.

Posted by Tacoma Rain

3:40 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I am in complete aw in how many people here that take the input of that just because several of the posters HATE the extension, and these same posters hate Joh.
Joh is fine - for 2008. Joh is probably going to rebound this year, and be close to his career averages. Joh may even be an above average catcher for 100 games in 2009, and I REALLY hope he is. I love Joh's hustle. I love how Joh has made GREAT strides of improvement in virtually every aspect of catching since day one. Further, I love Joh was more than willing to try to learn how to catch a knuckleballer.

HOWEVER, JOH will NOT be ANY GOOD in 2011, and he probably won't even be close to average in 2010. That is NOT Joh's fault...it is a fact of aging.

Posted by aaron

3:46 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Sign to trade later...hmmm... interesting.

Posted by baltimore truth

3:46 PM, Apr 25, 2008

as a baltimore native and life long fan i would like to say thanks. thankyou for our center fielder for the next ten years. our new closer is nice as well. seattle fans were so smug with your coments during the bedard trade. enjoy him . when and if he pitches. fire your front office. they set your team back ten years. peace

Posted by WildE

3:46 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Come on Geoff, we desperately need the financial details! dig, scoop, dig

Posted by Big Ebu

3:50 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Adam

Good points.

As for (1), I am hoping that maybe 2011 is a team option. Or perhaps Kenji wouldn’t accept anything less than a 3 year extension and the Mariners are giving it to him with the full expectation that they may end up eating his 2011 salary.

I really hope (3) is not true. Would be a waste of our 2005 pick to draft a DH/1B even if his bat is as good as we hope. I’d rather have Tulowitski.

Posted by debby downer

3:53 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I think it is a good signing, provided they didn't pay too much. The M's hope to be a contender next year. You don't how Clement is going to perform as a big league catcher. If Clement is not up to the task you still have an above average catcher in Kenji. If Clement excels then you trade Kenji. Seems like a no brianer to me.

Posted by baltimore truth

3:57 PM, Apr 25, 2008

you can ignore me thats fine. instead of arguing over a contract given to a poor at best catcher you should be talking about how your team is in poor shape. also how you gave away your future. has seattle ever won a world series? a chinamen catcher will not get you there. baltimore is laughing at you. all of baseball is as well.

Posted by Adam

3:58 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Debbie - you shouldn't assume that teams will be lining up for a 30-plus catcher who is signed to a deal through age 35. Especially if he struggles, which is probably the only scenario where the M's would consider trading Johjima.

It's amazing how much stock the Mariners put into veteran players and how little they appreciate young, cheap talent.

Posted by scottM

3:59 PM, Apr 25, 2008

from GEOFF: "Obviously, the timing of the announcement -- given Johjima's batting stats -- could not be worse. Say hello to Jeff Clement, first baseman of the future. Or is that DH? I don't know."

GEOFF, there is a counterlogic here. By signing Johjima, the M's are in much better control of their catcher situation for the next three years. What if, by signing him, they can now bring up Clement WITHOUT fear that Johjima will leave at the end of the season through free agency? This is a much better situation than bringing Clement up and finding that he can't handle the defensive catching duties. It could also extend the playing life and value of Johjima longer term.

I'll be pleased with this move, if the M's do bring Clement up, and PLATOON him with Johjima two days out of five, and platoon him at DH with Vidro the other three days out of five. Then the team will have added offensive pop, set themselves up to groom Johjima's ultimate replacement, and brought some power to the DH position. (Johjima should NOT DH, and Clement should NOT be moved to 1st Base).

Burke has been a solid back-up catcher, but this move involving the extension of Johjima and releasing Burke, has the potential to really bolster the M's where they are weakest.

On the other hand, if the M's make this move and let Clement rot in AAA, it makes little sense at all.

Posted by baltimoretruth

4:00 PM, Apr 25, 2008

are there no men among you?

Posted by danb

4:03 PM, Apr 25, 2008

How much money are we wasting on him?

Posted by Mike

4:04 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Baltimore Truth---Taunting us about our team is cool. Racism is not. Go away.

Posted by Wsumojo

4:07 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Maybe they want to groom Clement for RF!

Makes no sense, but when was the last move Bavasi made that did?

Posted by baltimore

4:07 PM, Apr 25, 2008

sorry about the chinamen comment. i will never go away . its just too funny. not the chinamen comment but how seriously you take your team .

Posted by Mike

4:08 PM, Apr 25, 2008

scottM---Like DC earlier you are right but I've not seen any evidence that the Ms whether it be Bavasi or McLaren would think that way.

Posted by scottM

4:09 PM, Apr 25, 2008

As for the trade possibility, what if the M's just locked up Johjima to trade him in a package (with Wilkerson, PLEEEEZ) to Cincinnati for Ken Griffey, Jr.? In that case, we have our RF for 2008, our DH for next year and beyond. Clement comes up to take Johjima's place, and this team has much better offensive pop.

It will be interesting to watch it play out. This news has all the feel of being much more than, at first, it seems..........

Posted by Adam

4:10 PM, Apr 25, 2008

ScottM - so what do the Mariners do with Johjima once Clement is groomed and takes over?

They should know by now if he can handle catching. Roger Hansen sure thinks he can, but it appears he's being ignored. This signing just puts Johjima in Clement's way.

The team could bring up Clement and put him at C two days a week and know by the end of the year if he can catch. If so, then there was no need to re-sign Johjima. If not, they re-sign Johjim and put Clement at 1B or DH. And if Johjima didn't want to re-sign? Big deal. Replacing an aging RH C isn't that difficult.

Clement's best value is as a C; his bat at that position is special, especially for our ballpark. All this move does is diminish that value, which hurts the team.

Posted by Adam

4:11 PM, Apr 25, 2008

ScottM - the trade theory is interesting, but is Jocketty stupid enough to take on a catcher signed through age 35? And wouldn't the idea behind trading Griffey be to get younger?

Posted by baltimore

4:15 PM, Apr 25, 2008

hey we will trade you one umbrella for morrow .

Posted by Choska

4:17 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Baltimore Truth,

Dude, we all agree that Bavasi sucks. BUT, don't gloat too much. It isn't like you are the only team to have fleeced Bavasi. Here is the list of those who reamed him before.

The Padres
The Dodgers
The White Sox
The Red Sox
The Marlins
The Padres (again)
The Giants
The Rockies
The White Sox (again)
The Rays
The Indians
The Phillies
The Braves
The Nationals
The Tigers
The Giants (again),
The Orioles
and then the Orioles (again)
and numerous agents with broken down veterans

Given his record it is a wonder the Mariners can actually field a team. For that matter, it is a wonder that there are any men between the ages of 18-40 in Seattle.

BTW, I don't think anyone digs describing Johjima with a racial slur.

Posted by MsontheRally

4:18 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I don't particularly hate this deal. I really think they'll convince Jeff to play 1st. Richie's on a short leash here. However I'm surprised they didn't just bring Clement up and then wait on the Johjima extension for later.

I think Clement at 1st and Johjima at C makes a lot of sense... I guess they just wanted to wait and see if Sexson's year was a fluke (which it wasn't). I bet Clement will see a game at 1b for Tacoma soon. You may see him platoon at DH and 1b with Sexson... while Vidro hits the bench.

Posted by baltimore

4:22 PM, Apr 25, 2008

point made. well done. thankyou for your honest and inteligent response. i am very sorry for the comment about your catcher. you are right it was wrong. i was just fishing for a responce. wrong choice of words peace.

Posted by Dawgman

4:26 PM, Apr 25, 2008

The only thing missing more than the hair on top of Bavasi's big cortex of a head is common sense in making good baseball decisions for the M's.

Posted by Tacoma Rain

4:29 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Can someone PLEASE give me a reason why ANY ONE of you think that Clement can play first base???
He has NEVER played it, even in high school.
Clement has said PUBLICALLY this year that HE does NOT WANT to play first base.
And for you Richie fans, Clement is not very tall, so he won't have Richie's defense
(Adam and others who are not Richie fans - feel free to laugh at that last comment)

Posted by Enough

6:05 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Bavasi is incompetent and needs to go. I cannot for the life of me understand why the Ms chose Jeff Clement in the 2005 draft ahead of, get this, Ryan Zimmerman, RYAN BRAUN, Troy Tulowitzki and Jacoby Ellsbury if Clement wasn't their catcher of the future. What the hell?

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