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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 5:05 PM

Thomas "not a good fit'' for M's

Posted by Geoff Baker

By the way, Kenji Johjima's contract, as per the Associated Press, is three years, $24 million. Just got back from talking one-on-one with Frank Thomas in the visitors clubhouse. All I wanted to know was whether he'd considered coming to Seattle.

Thomas told me the Mariners were one of four teams that his agent spoke with. The Oakland A's were another, obviously, but he declined to name the other two. In the end, he said, none of the clubs was offering any guartanteed money for 2009. It all boiled down to playing time.

"They told my agent they didn't know if the fit would work at this point in time,'' Thomas said. "Over there, they've got Jose Vidro, he's been around a long time. He's a professional, a great competitor. I don't want to go over there and get in a situation where there's a platoon, and they don't know how it's going to work. Where it's not a good fit, or a situation where it causes a problem in the clubhouse.

"Over here (Oakland), I've been here before,'' he added. "I know the guys, know the staff. I wanted to come back here again after 2006 to be honest with you. It was just the right thing for me. It was the right fit for them. For me, it was an easy transition.''

There you have it. Go nuts.

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Posted by Al

5:12 PM, Apr 25, 2008

So does that mean the M's will choose Vidro over Clement, if they don't see Thomas being better than VIdro?

Posted by cesame

5:12 PM, Apr 25, 2008

He probably didn't want to be apart of this idiotic organization we call the Mariners.

Why the M's didn't tell Frank Thomas he would be the full time DH is hilarious, as if the M's think Vidro does things Thomas can't. I seriously hope they didn't tell Frank they would platoon him with Vidro. Wow.

If the M's were smart they would have let Thomas know he would have been the full time DH because he's clearly a better option than Vidro.

Posted by Tony S

5:17 PM, Apr 25, 2008

great job Geoff, thanks for these updates

Posted by scottM

5:19 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Adam, when Bavasi said that GEOFF's follow up question was "too hypothetical to answer", it's the kind of evasiveness that leads to the kind of speculation I'm presenting. BB was quite wishy-washy on the whole Clement issue.

Platooning is the way that the team uses both players so that Joh is not "blocking" Clement's big league opportunity.

As for the Reds, I think that acquiring Johjima for three years would be far more valuable to them than if he is a free agent. It makes the Griffey trade viable. The converse risk to Seattle isn't so great with Griffey, because he has strongly indicated that he wants to be here.

Also, with such speculation, there might also be other players involved, so the "get younger" theory may still be part of the equation.

On the other hand, the Reds NEED a catcher, and the Reds are not likely to re-sign Griffey after this season, so getting younger may not factor in to this potential trade as greatly as you suggest.

If the M's bring up Clement and he doesn't perform defensively, then Rob Johnson/ Burke are also still available as insurance with Clement moving over to the DH.

Finally, if the M's are contemplating trading young Clement for an old Griffey, then the outrage from M's fans will be more than justified.

As for Frank Thomas, he's another aging crap shoot, not a panacea for the M's offensive woes.

Posted by seavet

5:23 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Looks like Thomas decided to go to a place where he has played with success before, where experience tells him he'll be welcome in the clubhouse, and where the field combined with the weather fit his current abilities better.

Looks to me like Frank Thomas is pretty smart.

Signing Frank Thomas with Jeff Clement in Tacoma, now THAT would have been idiocy.

Posted by geezer

5:29 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Not only does Vidro not bring anything to the table, now he prevents others from even getting TO the table. Everyone goes hungry with Jose Vidro.

Posted by Tacoma Rain

5:32 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Just out of curiousity....

How does this deal actually HELP Bavasi / M's out IF Bavasi wants to trade either Clement or Joh???

The other team will know we have to trade one of them, so thus we would be trading from a point of WEAKNESS...

So Bavasi will actually now get LESS for either one of these guys, than he NORMALLY would get in trade, and considering his past trades...


Posted by Paul

5:37 PM, Apr 25, 2008

> There you have it. Go nuts.

Geoff, I very much like your blog.

But maybe you need a break from it, now that your sign-offs are getting a bit... snarky?

If you're not enjoying it, or the participants you attract here... why bother doing it? Not enough hours in the day for that!


Posted by Miles

5:39 PM, Apr 25, 2008

$8m/year for Jojima doesn't make sense to anyone but the M's. It's also not the kind of contract you do if you expect Jojima to be a backup in the next couple of years.

Clement's being traded. Could be that a Griffey deal is already on, just waitng for the Reds to get the hype of his 600th HR. Since it looks like the Reds are rebuilding, it works for them and they get a MLB ready catcher (which they need) who can play right away, though I'm sure it will be a more complicated deal than that (other players involved, money, etc.)

Posted by scottM

5:42 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Tacoma Rain. Signing Johjima for three years gives anyone acquiring him the assurance that it's for a decent period of time. It strengthens our trade position (and may be part of the behind-the-scenes wrangling to do a deal for Griffey). Remember, Joh would have been a free agent after this season when his trade value to the M's will be nil.

Frankly, with the timing of this extension so early in the season while Joh is struggling at the plate, the hint of a trade seems strong. The Reds have a new GM. New GM's (with trigger happy owners) like to make an early impression. The Reds need a catcher and stand to lose Griffey at the end of the season.

Joh for Junior, YES
Clement for Junior, NO NO NO
Burke for Junior, (whoever said that, probably needs rehab)

Posted by Nat

5:46 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Mariner fans are living in Bizarro World (hitting head against the wall). And yes, Geoff, we are going nuts!!!

Oh bizarro world, bizarro world,
Mariner fans true blue--
We love the olden goldies:
Vidro, Wilky, Sexy,
and don't forget Joh too!

We hack at all the pitches
Now and then we get a run--
Bizarro world, bizarro world
We're having so much fun!

Oh bizarro world, bizarro world
We're having so much fun!

Posted by Nat

5:54 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Guess that should be golden oldies
not olden goldies.

Headline: Mariner Baseball turns fan' brain to mush

Posted by tallahassee-mariner's fan

5:54 PM, Apr 25, 2008

lets hope we dump johji for griffey some time in the next few weeks. that would be amazing. imagine having someone in the lineup who could actually tear the seam off the ball. maybe if we close our eyes vidro and sexson will disappear and buhner and edgar will appear in their places!!!

Posted by seavet

5:54 PM, Apr 25, 2008

As long as we're going Bizarro here:

Richie Sexson is five years younger than Griffey.

Sexson plus a minor league catcher (not Clement) plus Baek for Jr. and a decent young pitcher from the Red's farm. Pay most of Richie's remaining salary to make the deal palatable.

(Now all I have to figure out why the Reds would want to pick up a less successful version of Adam Dunn. Hmmm.)

Posted by seavet

6:09 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Anyone: if you were the Reds' management, would you bring Johjima in without benefit of spring training to work with your pitching staff?

Geoff: Sherrill's comment on the "eggshellish" nature of the M's clubhouse was intriguing. How about some commentary?

Posted by Bum Knee McGee

6:11 PM, Apr 25, 2008

This just in!
AP sources confirm the Mariners have signed Richie Sexson to a 3 year 450 million dollar contract extension. When asked about the steep cost of the deal, Mariners GM Bill Bavasi replied "As you know it can get pretty warm here in the summer, and we believe Richie is quite capable of striking out upwards of 150 times per season, so when you look at it from that perspective it's only 1 million dollars per k. With Richie out there whiffing away, we can shut down the air conditioning. Over the course of the season our savings there are really going to add up. This was really a no-brainer."

Posted by Miles

6:33 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I can't believe anyone thinks the Reds would want a 32 year old catcher who they would own $8m a year for the next three years.

I don't know if Clement will be traded to the Reds, but he will be the one traded. Not Jojima. Not Burke.

Posted by scottM

6:38 PM, Apr 25, 2008

from FOXSports: Seattle manager John McLaren said the uncertainty of where Johjima might play next season was affecting his catcher.

"Yeah, we hope this relaxes him," McLaren said. "I know it's been on his mind since spring training.

"Now it's behind him and he can go relax and play baseball."

The logic of this is mind-boggling. In the highly competitive sport of Major League Baseball, John McLaren is glad he could reduce the competitiveness and help Joh's game.

Gosh, Richie Sexson with his guaranteed eight figure contract never demonstrated that job security helped his batting performance.

Since when is MLB performance about competitive-free relaxation.

Sorry, MAC, that is the dumbest thing you've said in some time!

Posted by FukodomeFan

6:54 PM, Apr 25, 2008

JOhjima.. wow, it was effecting his performance?

We have some of the softest players in MLB

Posted by

7:02 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I'm probably in the minority for wanting to watch a slugfest instead of a no hitter. The M's team batting average of .250 just doesn't inspire me. The Red Sox as a team are batting .302, even with their DH Ortiz struggling at .183. And with our upgraded pitching staff, opponents are still managing to bat .274 against us.

Posted by Petejuliomcmahon

2:01 PM, Apr 26, 2008


Fank Thomas ... 277, 26, 95

Jose Vidro... 314, 6, 59

NO BRAINER YOU IDIOT BAVASI!!!!!! TAKE A RISK OR SOMETHING!!!! MAKE A MOVE!!!!! WE'RE DYING OUT THERE!!!!! I'll take 20 bombs and 36 RBI's more for a 37 point decreas in average any day!!! The spark that Frank Thomas could have given our offense is immeasurable. You blew it Bill.... You blew it.

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