Johjima’s press conference

DMZ · November 15, 2005 at 8:12 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

“I’m still a free agent.” — summary

Pic here and also from reader Toshio, this more-detailed summary:

1. Johjima said clearly that he will chose the team based on living environment for his family. Then, he said his wife “really liked Seattle”.

2. Johjima will visit only one more city in this trip (I guess that
would be NY).

3. Johjima’s agent said the M’s are only the team that has made an offer so far, and that the offer is better than his current one in Japan (500 million Yens / year: $1 is 100-120 Yen, I think. So that would make $4.2-4.5 mil / yr).


31 Responses to “Johjima’s press conference”

  1. MER on November 15th, 2005 8:34 pm

    Make the wife happy.

  2. Pilots Fan on November 15th, 2005 8:37 pm

    Correct — the Yen closed at 119.22 today, making the conversion $4.2M.

  3. Tom on November 15th, 2005 8:46 pm

    Unless the Mets really blow him away and persuade to play in the dump that is Shea Stadium, then I’m about 90% sure after reading this post that he is going to be a Seattle Mariner.


  4. Shoeless Jose on November 15th, 2005 8:52 pm

    And while the Mets can certainly show him some nice spreads in, say, Westchester or fancy-schmancy upper east side apartments, they’ll have to distract his wife from looking out the window at some of the neighborhoods along the way (not to mention locking her in a windowless van on the ride from the aiport to Shea — which admittedly is rather a short ride, since there’s no chance they’ll want them landing at Newark). And even then, presumably somebody with the M’s showed them what kind of lifestyle $4m can buy you here vs anywhere near the Big Apple.

  5. David J Corcoran on November 15th, 2005 8:52 pm

    Do you think it will scare off potential starting pitching to be pitching to a non-English speaking catcher? That’s my fear.

  6. Plastic Bohemia on November 15th, 2005 9:00 pm

    My understanding is that the Mets have Billy Wagner and Manny Ramirez as their primary targets for the offseason. I’m sure getting burnt badly on Kaz Matsui will also have a deterring effect on their interest in Johjima. And somehow, I don’t think Johjima’s english ability (or lack thereof) is going to scare off any FA starting pitchers, as long there’s enough green on the table.

  7. Shoeless Jose on November 15th, 2005 9:16 pm

    There seem to be plenty of catchers whose native language is Spanish. You might not be able to have deep philosophical discussions during mound conference theater, but you don’t need a huge vocabulary to sort out fastball/curve, inside/outside, etc. Particularly when you can work with the catcher in practice, bringing in a translator when necessary to sort out any kinks. Joh’go’boy almost certainly grew up knowing the english words for pretty much everything in baseball anyway and apparently already has been working with an English tutor. He’ll be fine.

    In any case this will be way down any prospective starting pitcher’s worry list; in fact, it might be a net positive to see a team trying creative things to upgrade weak-offense positions and shore up revenue from a key demographic (not to mention please the primary owner). And look at it this way: once he’s at the point Moyer is happy with him, any other pitcher shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

  8. ray on November 15th, 2005 9:18 pm

    Here is a computer translation (of the article — see link). Enjoy.

    “In the selection of Jojima in ahead transferring living environment of family concern” Chicago interview
    The free agent (FA) it declared from the software bank, aimed toward the American major league entering and the Jojima Ken Osamu catcher (29) who is in the midst of visiting America on the 15th, the reporter interviewed with the office of the representative and Alan Nero, Chicago suburban it is said that living environment of the family is seriously considered in selection ahead transferring.

    The latest American visit purpose was said “the reaction of the family you verified you applied Jojima, by himself how feels compared to,”. Medical check of the shoulder and the ankle was received on the 7th entering Los Angeles. After that, to observe the facility of
    Mariners in Seattle, the Bavasi general manager (GM) and others club leader and dining together. “Sincerity was felt. Also the wife had liked Seattle town very “, that they were the circumstances which had good impression. You say that after this, 1 city is visited

    According to Nero the fact that bidding is received is just Mariners, but Mets and pad less and so on 6 clubs have shown interest, “sufficiently there is a self-confidence which gains
    measure contract”, you said. You revealed also the fact that the condition Mariners exceeding Jojima of this season annual salary (presumption 500,000,000 Yen) is presented. (08:48)

  9. IceX on November 15th, 2005 9:27 pm

    If I were a pitcher, I’d be more scared to throw to Piazza or a lead glove catcher than a catcher that I couldn’t understand… Not that I couldn’t understand Johjima in the first place.

  10. ray on November 15th, 2005 9:27 pm

    To add, they say Jojima is very smart: he studies hitters, and pitchers and can remember hugh amounts of data on such things — apparently a good game caller, too. I imagine this would be Moyer-like. They say he is as a hard worker on his skills as Ichiro and wants to start right away on studying film. As far as his offense is concerned, I have read elsewhere that his eye ratio last year was 1:1 and lifetime it is not far of that. And his homerun to K ratio is very good, too. I think he will be quite an addition to the M’s.

  11. Kelly on November 15th, 2005 9:31 pm

    Best sentence EVER on this site, “Sincerity was felt.” The fact that it describes a dinner with Bavasi just makes it even richer.

  12. JNR on November 15th, 2005 10:00 pm

    Yeah, I just want to see the M’s sign him and have it be done with. It’ll be a good feeling to know that heading into the thick of the offseason, the M’s have already made at least one good acquisition. It seems pretty likely that he’s coming to Seattle. I’m excited to see what he can do.

  13. Geofftoons on November 15th, 2005 10:10 pm

    One thing I have to admit I’m curious about is what effect, if any, signing Jojima would have on Ichiro. Yes, we had other Japanese players in Shiggy and Kazusaki, but they were pitchers so it’s not the same as another position player that you hang out with in the dugout during a game while the pitchers are in the bullpen, take batting practice with, share the same work ethic, etc.

    My thought is that it would be good for Ichiro to have someone on the team that he can relate to culturally, converse with without having Alan Turner around to translate all the time, and not make him feel so isolated from his other teamates.

    On the other hand, I could be completely wrong…. it was just something that popped into my head. What do you all think?

  14. Todd on November 15th, 2005 10:23 pm
  15. Montresor on November 15th, 2005 10:42 pm

    Iishi was released by the Mets earlier. Would it help him be a better pitcher to work with Jojima? Or, would that be asking alot?

  16. Evan on November 15th, 2005 11:57 pm

    I don’t see anything making Ishii a better pitcher if he doesn’t improve that K/BB ratio.

  17. LB on November 16th, 2005 12:08 am

    #13: I think Ichiro’s command of English is better than most fans would guess. Just because he wants an interpreter for dealing with the press doesn’t tell you much about his ability to communicate with teammates.

  18. eponymous coward on November 16th, 2005 12:09 am


  19. mark from Oly. on November 16th, 2005 12:55 am

    The last 4 days I have very ill, then I see this and I feel better.

    Thanks. It cheered me up.

  20. JPWood on November 16th, 2005 1:12 am

    Johjima or someone in the know ran out the tally: he’s already worked with 18 English-speaking pitchers in his years in the NPB.
    He’s probably figured out most of the language question already.

  21. mln on November 16th, 2005 3:09 am

    I don’t know if the “language issue” is all that relevant. I mean how many Latino catchers are there in the major leagues who had to learn English and work with pitchers that didn’t speak their native tongue?

    What might be of more concern is not learning the language but learning the hitters’ tendencies, pitchers’ preferences, and how to call a game in the MLB. There might be more of a transition period for these kinds of things.

  22. Bozo on November 16th, 2005 3:53 am

    I wonder why we never heard about what a problem it was for Wilson (and Lampkin and Davis) to deal with Sasaki (who speaks very little non-baseball English.) Presumably, that was because it wasn’t much of a problem, and they could discuss signs and pitching sequences without communication difficulties.

    P.S. Don’t tell the Mets or Padres.

  23. JoJo on November 16th, 2005 4:21 am


    1 finger=fastball
    2 fingers= curve
    3 fingers= wait…no need…I dont think the M’s rotation has anyone who can through a quality third pitch…

    A language barrier doesnt seem to be a big problem….

  24. ray on November 16th, 2005 6:10 am

    I’m sure you guys have seen the other thread. I’ve heard Jojima thinks along the same lines of baseball as Ichiro. I’ve also heard he isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Considering he will be in more meetings (pitchers & players & mound) I wonder if any conflict might arise. After, seeing the article, and all the comments, I might be more worried about a clash of philosophies, and ideas than any language barrier. That being said, I hope the M’s land him.

    On a side note, can you imagine, Hargrove vs. Chaves vs. Jojima — get readyyy ~y to rumbllll~lle! It’s smack-down live at Safeco.

  25. Bonefan on November 16th, 2005 6:51 am

    #1 … My friend Kaz taught me a Japanese saying that translates to: “Wife happy, life happy.”

    His haircut reminds me of Joe Girardi’s. Hope he hits better.

    Regarding command of English when working a pitching staff: lack thereof never seemed to impede Yogi Berra.

  26. JPMouton on November 16th, 2005 8:23 am

    All I ever read about his defense is good game caller and such, any word on his throwing arm?

  27. Idaho Invader on November 16th, 2005 10:15 am

    Excellent question regarding his arm. I assume no news is good news, so I’m not too worried. For those that think signing this guy isn’t a big deal, consider how important the ChiSox low key signing of their Japanese 2nd baseman was and also consider this:

    M’s catchers collectively hit .215 with an obp of around .250 w/ just 24 walks & a meager 10 homers to go with 120 k’s.

    Sure that counts Olivo’s abortion of a season, but it also includes Rivera’s .390+ cup of coffe, where ironically he had about as many hits as poor Miggie, lol. But before anyone gets too excited about him, he’s not exactly ready based on his awful AAA numbers with no walks or power at any level last year. (Maybe Rene thinks that by hitting near .200 he has a chance to be qualified as an M’s starting catcher). That seems to be the norm the last few years, right?

  28. msb on November 16th, 2005 12:05 pm

    #13– and, FWIW, even if he needed to, Ichiro couldn’t rely on Alan Turner to translate while on the bench– Turner is out in the bullpen during a game…

  29. jim on November 16th, 2005 2:08 pm

    It should be pointed out that while Seattle is farther from many Latin players’ home countries, and many east-coast natives’ burrows, it is CLOSER to Japan than NY. So Johjima should be a lock!

  30. Maurice on November 16th, 2005 10:22 pm

    Jojima led the Japan Pacific League in caught stolen bases pct for 4 years in a row. That should say a little something about his arm.

  31. pensive on November 17th, 2005 7:34 am

    Predict that Mariners announce Jojima signing by Saturday 11/19 to defray the Ichiro not happy headlines and wild speculation to follow.

    The Mariners PR will have to do something to distract Jojima signing plus another move will get attention away from wild Ichiro on the market rumours. Hopefully!