Seattle Times: M’s sign Jojima
So says Bob Finnigan (“So say we all.”). The announcement could come as early as today. If he’s right, it’s 3y, $5m/year. This would be up from the 2y+option previously rumored. Also, Jojima looks sad in that photo.
This would also be a sudden turnaround, as this weekend the Japan Times was reporting that he was “waiting for offers”:
OSAKA Ã¢â‚¬â€ Japanese all-star catcher Kenji Jojima, who is in talks with major league teams, returned to Japan on Saturday saying he is still awaiting offers.
“If I get offers, I’d like to go again,” Jojima said after arriving at Kansai International Airport. “I’d like to not have this drag on too long if possible.”
At the same time, the printed rumor mill was grinding the increased year and money, and saying that the Mariners had won the U.S. bidding. If nothing else, it’s interesting to look back at what leaked when locally and whether it was true:
Nov 11th, TNT: the M’s are close to signing him to a two-year, $8m deal with an option year: got the contract offer and details right, and while maybe jumping the gun
Then the denials (from Jojima’s agent in particular) that they weren’t even in serious negotiations: yeah, that’s not true.
It also makes Jojima’s shortened trip interesting. He came to Seattle, hung out for a while, the M’s made him a strong, early offer, he headed off, maybe saw Shea while flying into New York, walked around a bit, and after a while asked someone if the constant honking and the smell are all-day amenities. And when they said “pretty much” he told his agent to work something out with the Mariners and went home.
Anyway, some time this week I’ll take a crack at projecting Jojima. If nothing else, this would be the second off-season in a row where the team saw a need and a free agent that would fill that need and went sprinting after them. Whether you think Beltre’s a great signing or not, they appear to be doing an excellent job of evaluating who they think the prizes are in the free agents and being aggressive. And if Carlos Delgado, say, wants $100m over 5 years, they say “thanks” and then start to work on their backup plan. They’re not losing out on the players they target for lack of effort.