Seattle Mariners Position Race: Catcher

Hayato UwaiCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2009


Our starting catcher, Kenji Johjima, struggled real bad last season, which was a huge disappointment after signing him to a three-year extension, former GM Bill Bavasi's last TERRIBLE move.

Now with Jeff Clement and Rob Johnson proving that they are major league ready, who will be catching?

Here are the candidates.

Kenji Johjima: The Mariners' starting catcher since 2006 after long-time catcher Dan Wilson retired. He knows how to play defense, but he tends to rush himself, and goes sidearm on a throw to gun down the runner. He fixed that in 2007, but he went back to his old form in 2008. He struggled offensively last season, losing his starting job to Jeff Clement. Now he looks to rebound. He is currently playing for Team Japan in WBC.

Jeff Clement: Unlike Johjima, Clement can hit hard. He has power, and I think he can be like Mike Piazza minus defense. Yes, MINUS defence. Clement is still at the level of learning how to play defense. He still isn't major league ready defensively, so he has work to do. He can't disappoint fans because of the fact that he was third overall selection in the 2005 MLB Draft.

Rob Johnson: This guy has nothing more to prove in the minors. He can hit for average and can play solid defense. Probably good for backup catcher, but never known as a starter. But if Johjima struggles again, and Clement can't play defense, I think Johnson will get some time starting; and if he succeeds, he can be our guy.

Adam Moore: Unlikely to get called up in the majors any time soon, but he has been a surprise in the organization, hitting and playing defense well. He is a well-balanced catcher. Problem is where to play him. DH will be Clement if he can't prove he is major league ready defensively and Johnson will start if Johjima struggles (or gets out of Seattle). So only place for Moore to play is backup, which is a waste of a talent. Look for the Mariners to trade one of Clement, Johnson, or Moore in few years.

Our new skipper, Don Wakamatsu, said that he will start Johjima. But if Johjima continues to struggle at the MLB level, fans might see him get out of Seattle real soon, meaning Clement and Johnson will have a chance. I'd like to see that happen personally because Johjima is already past his prime, and not playing prospects like Clement and Johnson is terrible.

Come on Don, let them play.