Seattle Mariners Luck Out As Catcher Kenji Johjima Opts Out Of Contract

GregCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 31:  Catcher Kenji Johjima #2 of the Seattle Mariners on July 31, 2009 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Larry LaRue from The News Tribune is reporting that Kenji Johjima has opted out of the final two years of his contract with the Mariners:

"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.

This is great news for the Mariners. Johjima was due $8 million in both 2010 and 2011, an amount that far exceeded his value. The move didn't make sense at the time, and was widely looked upon as a terrible deal for the Mariners.

With Jack Zduriencik in charge, freeing up $16 million is huge for the Mariners. Just this past season, Jack Z. was able to pick up guys like Russ Branyan for pennies on the dollar and built the Mariners into a competitive team.

Spending this $16 million on other players will give the Mariners a better team now, and most likely also in the future. The Mariners lucked out big-time here.