Johjima out again

Mike Snow · May 25, 2009 at 5:43 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Johjima has a broken toe. Apparently it’s more of a problem catching than it is hitting, because he homered after he broke it. This is the sort of thing you have to be prepared for with catchers, a position where having some organizational depth does matter, which is why Rob Johnson could potentially have a 10-year career without being able to hit.

For the Mariners, the organizational depth at catcher was thought to be a strong point not that long ago, but it’s dwindling. Jeff Clement is hitting well enough now at Tacoma to be called up, but his knee’s bothering him and he’s only been DHing the past three weeks. Not an option, then, and really not worth considering as a catcher anymore. Either he takes over Griffey’s role next year, or he learns to play first base, or he leaves the organization. Both of the last two, probably.

Jamie Burke is filling the role played by Pat Borders a few years ago, so the team can always call on him. Johnson and Burke combined so far this year: .171/.207/.232. Our offense is already anemic enough, thanks.

Or, at this point, you could go straight past Burke to the one guy who really could be the team’s catcher of the future – Adam Moore. Between West Tenn and Tacoma he’s hit .266/.370/.391, and he does one of the things Zduriencik has shown he likes in position players, take pitches and draw walks. He’s probably not ready to come to the majors and stay, but for a two-week job-share until Johjima comes off the DL, it could let him get a feel for what the big leagues are like so he knows what to expect when he’s up here for real. And anything he hits would be gravy.

Comments

47 Responses to “Johjima out again”

  1. ivan on May 25th, 2009 5:49 pm

    Who says it’s two weeks?

  2. Sports on a Schtick on May 25th, 2009 5:58 pm

    Jeff Clement will never play for the Mariners again. Rob Johnson is now the starting catcher.

    Neither of those sentences make sense, but rooting for this team tends to defy a lot of things.

  3. littlelinny6 on May 25th, 2009 6:27 pm

    I really wish Clement could catch because being a LH catcher would fit perfectly in Safeco and for the M’s. That being said why not let Adam Moore play for a few weeks? The M’s are on the precipice of punting the season anyways so we might as well see what we have with him. Offensively I’m not too concerned with him because Rob Johnson is OPSing sub .500 which is all kinds of terrible and awful.

  4. cdowley on May 25th, 2009 6:30 pm

    It’d be interesting to see Adam with the team, just to see what he can really do, but honestly he probably still needs a little more time at AAA before I’d seriously consider it. Maybe if/when Kenji gets hurt next month?

  5. wabbles on May 25th, 2009 6:48 pm

    That April record really skewed people’s thinking. Remember, if we get back to .500, that’s a TWENTY game improvement over 2008. This season is about building nto contending per so. Soooo, since Dan Wilson isn’t an option, calling up Adam Moore for a cup of coffee is intriguing. Mark Lowe came up from AA. For such a short time (especially splitting time with Johnson), it hopefully won’t completely destroy his psyche if he doens’t do well. That just leaves the question of starting his service clock early. A lotta people said calling up A-Rod in 1994 was a waste because we lost him a year early. How would that work here?

  6. Graham on May 25th, 2009 6:54 pm

    If only Rob Johnson was injured instead of someone competent

  7. msb on May 25th, 2009 6:56 pm

    Johjima has a broken toe. Apparently it’s more of a problem catching than it is hitting

    squat and notice what you put your weight on, and what you use to keep your balance. Ouch.

  8. lailaihei on May 25th, 2009 7:36 pm

    I like the idea of bringing Moore up for a couple weeks to give him a taste of the bigs. He’s at least as good of a hitter as Johnson and can’t possibly be a worse defender. He still has a lot to learn, obviously, but it would be fun to see him split time. I’d love to see him when I go to the O’s series.

  9. Mike Snow on May 25th, 2009 8:32 pm

    squat and notice what you put your weight on, and what you use to keep your balance

    I understand why it would work that way. As it is, it’s impressive that he was able to catch another inning before coming out. For that matter, it might have made a difference if he had hit something other than a home run, and actually had to run the bases.

  10. SequimRealEstate on May 25th, 2009 9:17 pm

    Interesting decision they have to make. My bet is Burke. That is the no-brainer. It would be a real eye opener if they gave Adam a try. Unconventional thinking and all that.

  11. TranquilPsychosis on May 25th, 2009 9:25 pm

    If only Rob Johnson was injured instead of someone competent

    Can we qualify that statement with “defensively competent-ish” please? Joh hasn’t exactly been tearing it up on either side of the ball.

    A lotta people said calling up A-Rod in 1994 was a waste because we lost him a year early.

    Please help me with this one. I am thinking that A-rod had a much higher upside than Moore does. Am I mistaken?

    Not that I think it would be bad for the club. It’s just that I’m not sure that the jump would be good for his developement/confidence quite yet.

  12. Graham on May 25th, 2009 9:31 pm

    Can we qualify that statement with “defensively competent-ish” please?

    If you like, but there’s a .050 wOBA hit going to Rob Johnson from Kenji Johjima

  13. TranquilPsychosis on May 25th, 2009 9:38 pm

    If you like, but there’s a .050 wOBA hit going to Rob Johnson from Kenji Johjima

    True. But do you think Moore, as young and undeveloped as he is, is the answer to this particular dilemma?

  14. DMZ on May 25th, 2009 9:49 pm

    I’d add that Moore’s not on the 40-man right now. Not that the M’s don’t have options for moves, but it would start a clock ticking on Moore where right now they have the luxury of making sure promoting him’s the right move.

    I believe they’re actually at 59 now, unless I miss my count on the M’s roster page. So they can add someone without a corresponding subtraction for now. Can that be right?

  15. skeets35 on May 25th, 2009 9:54 pm

    Can’t they stick Silva on the 60 day DL to open up a roster spot and then bring up Moore?

    Moore looks to be the only viable option, but man I hate to bring up these players too soon it can really mess them up.

  16. TranquilPsychosis on May 25th, 2009 10:01 pm

    So what else do we have/can we get to cover for the time that our crappy “not quite at his career best” catcher is out of the equation?

    I’m not trying to say that I know. It’s just that I don’t think we have much in the way of free options. And considering the constirctions that ownership has obviously laid down, the only real options there are must be league minimum or free.

    Again, please, if I am missing something obvious, please correct me.

  17. Mike Snow on May 25th, 2009 10:02 pm

    They’re at 39, and they would have to add somebody to the 40-man either way, as Burke’s not on it either. Clement’s the only one of these guys who is.

    Moore has to be added to the 40-man after this season, so you would start using up his options a year early by doing this. Otherwise it would be an easier call, although I could argue if he can’t then stick in the majors by 2012, not much is lost. But it does have to be taken into account, that and you basically have to cut Burke loose when the Padres call and they need a catcher, because you’ve made it clear he’s not coming back to Seattle ever.

  18. TranquilPsychosis on May 25th, 2009 10:09 pm

    that and you basically have to cut Burke loose when the Padres call and they need a catcher,

    Trade our last gasp star catcher to those vile Padres? NEVER!!

  19. juneau_fan on May 25th, 2009 10:14 pm

    Funny, when they mentioned that the Giants basically have no backup catcher, they use Kung Fu Panda, and he was knocked out, so that’s why they brought that kid up for the last game of our series, I wondered which one of our extra catchers we could slough off on them.

    What a difference a day makes.

  20. Breadbaker on May 25th, 2009 10:26 pm

    Moore has presumably caught a bunch of guys on the current team, hasn’t he? Given how much turnover there’s been in the pitching staff (it’s easier to say who’s in the same role as at the start of the season right now: Felix and Bedard, than to say who’s moved: everyone else), that actually might be an advantage.

    We won’t learn anything bringing back Burke. We’re not making the playoffs. So bring up the kid and let him see big league pitching (on both sides) for a couple of nights a week for a couple of weeks. As Mike Snow said, the only reason his options should matter is if he doesn’t perform in the next three years.

  21. Mike Snow on May 25th, 2009 10:41 pm

    Moore has presumably caught a bunch of guys on the current team, hasn’t he?

    In spring training some, but otherwise, not particularly. He was only brought up to Tacoma (where he should have been in the first place) after Clement’s knee started bothering him. Moore would have caught Stark and Jakubauskas in AA last year, but I wouldn’t hang my hat on that especially. He’s a little earlier in his development cycle than most of the pitching staff, so he hasn’t been moving up the ladder on the same steps as these guys necessarily. This move would be a little daring, but you’d also be clear that it’s a temporary thing, so it’s not like Bavasi’s aggressive promotion strategy.

  22. TranquilPsychosis on May 25th, 2009 10:53 pm

    This move would be a little daring, but you’d also be clear that it’s a temporary thing, so it’s not like Bavasi’s aggressive promotion strategy

    Again, my argument is that it is too early for him. And yes, I do realize that he isn’t a pitcher, but the reality is that he wasn’t ready for the majors 6 weeks ago. Is he ready now? I seriously doubt it. Will he be in September? Maybe.

    But is it wise to crash the confidence he’s building in Tacoma for 2-3 weeks in the majors now?

    Also, using the Bavasi ideal more cements than refutes my case.

  23. CMC_Stags on May 25th, 2009 10:56 pm

    I’m in the not starting Moore’s service time camp on this. The team is not likely to win the division this year – with or without Moore – so any move has to be made with an eye towards 2010+. I don’t see how giving him a cup of coffee now versus at the end of the season when rosters expand make a difference.

    Leave him in AAA to catch and hit everyday. The development time will should be more useful than a mid-season call up where he’ll sit 60% of the time until Kenji comes back.

  24. wrob4343 on May 25th, 2009 11:20 pm

    Please help me with this one. I am thinking that A-rod had a much higher upside than Moore does. Am I mistaken?

    Absolutely.

    But it sounds like a worthwhile move considering all alternatives. Could this start the front office down the path of trades it’s going to undergo this season?

  25. eponymous coward on May 25th, 2009 11:35 pm

    I think describing a 33 year old catcher with ~1500 pro games between MLB/Pacific League who’s about a .5 WAR player over his last full season (combined 2008-2009) as “competent” is defining competent down a bit more than I’d like.

    That being said, Kenji is sure as hell a lot closer to it than Rob Johnson, who’s just terrible. At this point, I’d hand the fulltime job to Burke for now and hope for the best- I think Jamie’s the better player, and there’s no reason to rush Adam Moore to the majors. If you want to look at him before deciding what to do this offseason, September will do nicely.

  26. SonOfZavaras on May 25th, 2009 11:45 pm

    Could this start the front office down the path of trades it’s going to undergo this season?

    I wouldn’t bet the crown jewels against it being the impetus for a lot o’ fur to fly.

    By now, Zduriencik knows what’s what with this group.

    More than that, opportunities are becoming more evident: The Cubbies need a third sacker, and Lou’s about ready to blow a gasket.

    The Rays need a second baseman, with Iwamura out for the year.

    The Chicago White Sox have more or less declared they’re gonna go hell for leather and try to win this year.

    And that’s just the obvious stuff, what we all know for sure.

    We aren’t going to buffalo an org as smart as the Rays out of anything awesome, and the Cubs system is more fallow than ours.

    But, the dog days are approaching for the contenders, and injuries are piling up. Smells like the right time to me to begin the movin’ and dealin’.

    I’d be willing to bet around mid-June, names start finding new places. After the draft.

  27. guschiggins on May 25th, 2009 11:47 pm

    as long as they only bring up Moore for 2 weeks and don’t use him full time in September, it wouldn’t start his service time. 130 AB or 45 days on the roster before September.

    So giving him 50ish at bats now wouldn’t take away from that. Once you hit your rookie year, you get 3 years at minimumish salary and then 3 arbitration years unless you are a “super 2″… Unless I’m way off here.

    ARod started his service time in 95, not 94. He didn’t play enough in 94 to qualify.
    He was a super 2 after 96 and then had 4 more years after that before he hit FA after 2000.

    And I’m all for Adam Moore getting called up. Burke isn’t any kind of answer, so as long as you make sure Moore maintains rookie eligibility for this year, it seems a sound idea to me.

  28. SonOfZavaras on May 26th, 2009 12:20 am

    Dave, DMZ…

    Is guschiggins right? I’ll tell you right now I’m not very well-versed on the nuances of “super-2″s and frankly, service time in general.

  29. Paul B on May 26th, 2009 6:36 am

    The only other option I can see, other than the aforementioned Burke and Moore, is Quiroz.

    He’d probably be on about a par with Burke, offensively. But what the heck, he might do a little better, his lifetime OPS in AAA is .719.

  30. argh on May 26th, 2009 7:58 am

    The Rays need a second baseman, with Iwamura out for the year.

    At last we have something in common with The Rays.

  31. Mike Snow on May 26th, 2009 8:03 am

    Rookie eligibility is purely for the sake of winning awards. It should be ignored for purposes of any roster decisions.

    Super 2 is a rule that only applies to arbitration, the player remains under club control. It’s a bit of a cost concern, but it wouldn’t come up in this scenario anyway.

    Free agency requires six full years of service time. It could be an issue here if Moore isn’t ready to make the team out of the gate next spring. Additional roster time now might then trigger free agency a year early.

  32. tmac9311 on May 26th, 2009 8:10 am

    so there is a 0% percent chance Clement can catch? With all the we need left handed bats discussion, would his swing be more important than his defense, or is it so bad that isnt the case? I join USSM this year so any Clement discussions last year i would of missed. Has he even play catcher in AAA?

  33. marc w on May 26th, 2009 9:03 am

    tmac,

    Well, he certainly can catch theoretically, and has caught some this year in AAA. But as Dave mentioned, his knees are currently preventing him from catching; he’s the DH for Tacoma now (and has been for several weeks, which isn’t a good sign). So while Clement may one day make a full recovery and get himself back into the discussion at C, it’s not an option NOW.

  34. eponymous coward on May 26th, 2009 11:10 am

    So while Clement may one day make a full recovery and get himself back into the discussion at C, it’s not an option NOW.

    Clement’s had two knee surgeries, and his knees started giving out again after a couple of months of catching between spring training and now, and he’s 25. I think he’s done as a C- it’s pretty obvious his knees aren’t up to the stress of the position. All pushing him back to C is going to do is screw up whatever career he has to look forward to in MLB even more than it’s been already.

  35. Taylor H on May 26th, 2009 11:15 am

    [you're very dumb]

  36. marc w on May 26th, 2009 11:18 am

    ec –
    Yeah, I think it’s likely that he’s done as a C in this org, but that’s something of a separate debate. Last year, I think you could argue that he had an easier path to the big leagues at 1B weighing his bat, defense, health and the competition.
    This year, I don’t know that that’s true. So it’s back to the health issue. I’m certainly not privy to any info on just how problematic the current swelling is, but the M’s don’t have many options at C – that may weigh on the FO’s mind, though they seem to dislike his defensive game.

    Anyway, the point is that he’s not in the discussion *right now* whatever you think about his long term prospects to play C again in MLB.

  37. tmac9311 on May 26th, 2009 11:33 am

    thanks for clearing it up marc, i was pretty sure he had no chance, i was just curious for the details.

    i heard of 710 it’s going to be burke, so it looks like C is going to be really hurting for the next two weeks, and probably the entire season.

  38. Mike Snow on May 26th, 2009 11:57 am

    Before people get too quick to accuse Dave of hypocrisy, I’m not aware of him having expressed any opinion on this idea.

  39. sodomojojojo on May 26th, 2009 1:53 pm

    Article on the Mariners website (Jo out for 2 weeks…) actually mentions bringing up Moore, so maybe we aren’t the only ones talking about it.

  40. Graham on May 26th, 2009 3:08 pm

    Quiroz to Seattle. I imagine he’ll back up Johnson, but who knows.

  41. Mike Snow on May 26th, 2009 3:26 pm

    Wow, I thought about that, but dismissed it as a possibility since it’s not like Quiroz has done anything special to warrant leapfrogging Burke for the yo-yo catcher’s role. Maybe they just want to give him a longer look at the city of Seattle than he got last time.

  42. wabbles on May 26th, 2009 3:28 pm

    Quiroz to Seattle. OUCH Calling up a AA instead of Clement. That’s just…OUCH Clement officially has been kicked to the curb, at least as a catcher. Given that last modifying clause, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Let’s hope he sticks around as DH/1B or something so he can be Varitek-type trade bait. That was a lousy trade, yes, but he was doomed to be a backup catcher for several years in Seattle. Boston gave him the chance to start. We just shoulda got more back for him, and Lowe. If Clement is now blocked behind a bunch of DH/1B, let’s start seeing what we can get for him, besides Heathcliff Slocumb.

  43. eponymous coward on May 26th, 2009 3:34 pm

    Wow, I thought about that, but dismissed it as a possibility since it’s not like Quiroz has done anything special to warrant leapfrogging Burke for the yo-yo catcher’s role.

    Yeah, I’m kind of surprised- maybe Burke is tutoring Moore. It does strike me as an “eh” decision between the two, though the M’s are screwing up who the full timer should be (read: not Rob Johnson- and in fact, I’d rather Johnson was sucking in Tacoma while Burke and Quiroz split time behind the plate in Seattle).

  44. Beniitec on May 26th, 2009 3:36 pm

    WHO?

  45. wabbles on May 26th, 2009 3:37 pm

    Well, he’s not really leapfrogging Burke as Burke is not on his way up. He’s the Bull Durham/Pat Borders gritty veteran catcher sent to tutor the young pitchers and catchers.

  46. SonOfZavaras on May 26th, 2009 4:12 pm

    Quiroz up? It’s a little bit mystifying, on the face of it. But maybe it makes sense. He does have ML experience, and Adam Moore’s next 100 ABs should probably be in AAA-Tacoma.

    But I really think this Clement situation needs addressing, one way or the other. DH, 1B,C, bass fiddle, second chair….whatever. Right now, his bat is rotting in Tacoma. I’d rather he hit .265 for us (with whatever power he can provide)than .300+ in AAA.

    Because we have a lot of bats not even providing .265.

  47. Paul B on May 26th, 2009 5:37 pm

    I called it. Well, sort of anyway.

    Quiroz to Seattle. OUCH Calling up a AA instead of Clement.

    Did you not see all the posts stating that Clement has a knee injury that prevents him from catching?

    What good would calling Clement up do? Then they would only have 1 catcher.

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