Here is part two of our Mariners' season recap. I'm gonna briefly breakdown each player at each position on the final 25-man active roster. I'm gonna be going position by position (C, 1B, 2B, etc,). Here is a link to part one
of the recap which was a detailed analysis on the Mariners' opening day lineup.
Jeff Clement is one of the rare prizes of the Mariner farm system. The one bright spot of this season was having Jeff Clement getting invaluable experience behind the plate and at the plate. He will be one of the pieces of the foundation in the so called "rebuilding" effort.
I don't think it'd be fair to evaluate his offense based on his first season (he ended up with a .227 avg), moreover if he wins the starting job at catcher next season, April will be a telling month if he's learned anything from his rookie season. I think if he's able to become more patient behind the plate his batting average will go up and he'll be more productive at the plate. I have a feeling that he'll be able to catch on.
Switch him to 1st base?
Well it depends on what you think is more important, throwing base runners out or "managing" the pitching staff better. I actually don't think any of the two should be factors. It really comes down to where he'd be most valuable to the team. He'd be most valuable playing catcher for the M's, it's hard to find offensive talent at the catcher position in baseball. Besides I think his ability to throw out runners can be improved pending practice and more time behind the plate.
When opening day comes next year I want to see Jeff Clement starting at catcher and not Kenji Johjima.
Late in the season it was revealed that some of the pitching staff did not like pitching with Kenji Johjima behind the plate. I'm not entirely sure why, but my guess is because of the language barrier among other things. On the defensive side, he's superior to Clement at throwing runners out, but pretty even with Clement on offense.
I don't know why he had such a bad year this year, hopefully it was just a fluke or something, but I think he'll bounce back offensively next season. It'll be really interesting what the new GM and the manager decide to do with him. He's locked up with a new contract so they'll have to find a place for him somewhere...whether that is at Catcher, 1st Base, or at DH.
I'd start him out at Designated Hitter and see how he does offensively. If he fails to perform and still looks like the 2008 Kenji Johjima he should be used as a backup to Jeff Clement.
What a great story to have him on this ballclub. I think he's solidified his spot as a 3rd string catcher. He seems to be a favorite among the pitching staff so he'll be a keeper going into next season. He's decent offensively but would never have him come in the game to pinch-hit or anything.
Do you remember when he had to come into pitch in the long extra inning game? Wow. This season was a joke.
Two words. Roster waste. He doesn't really do anything special offensively or defensively. He seems to be like your typical backup catcher. With three solid catchers already established on this team, I don't see Johnson suiting up in an M's uniform next season.
Who do you want to see starting at Catcher for the Mariners next season? Kenji Johjima or Jeff Clement?