Johjima is Going Back to Japan


I’m at school, so I need to write this very quickly.

A somewhat surprising development today – Kenji Johjima has decided to opt out of his contract, and head back to Japan. This will be great for the M’s in a couple of ways – his money over the next 2 seasons is now off the books, and it potentially opens up the road to the starting job for Adam Moore. It also could be really bad in a way, if the organization thinks more of Rob Johnson is the answer.

In general though, it’s something that was probably inevitable, and brings a lot more positives than negatives. It’s a bit sad to see him go, though, as he gave us a couple of really good years, and was never anywhere near as rough to watch behind the plate as Rob Johnson. I wish good luck to Kenji over the remainder of his career, and I hope he’s appreciated the way he should be in Japan, as he really wasn’t in his last two seasons here.

We’ll just have to wait and see what direction they go in for 2010 – if God doesn’t hate the Mariners, Adam Moore will be ready to take the starting job by then. Here are a couple of quotes from Kenji, via Larry Stone:

“After lots of very deep thought and deliberation, I have decided to return home to resume my career in Japan,” Johjima. “I have had a wonderful experience competing at the Major League level. The last four years have been extraordinary, with great teammates and great coaches.

“I will always be indebted to the Mariners organization for giving me the opportunity to follow my dream. This was a very difficult decision, both professionally and personally. I feel now is the time to go home, while I still can perform at a very high level. Playing close to family and friends was a major factor. I will miss the Seattle fans and their gracious support. Thank you all.”

This was not a buyout – the Mariners owe Kenji absolutely no money, which is huge. That’s $16 million off the books over the next two years.

One other piece of news – Bruce Hines won’t be returning as the Mariners third base coach. He’s the only 2009 coach that won’t be back for 2010. That’s all for now, I’ll have more later.

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