Mariners Insider Blog

What Do You Do With A Catcher Like Johjima?

It's an odd situation to face in any year, but in a season in which you're dead last among American League teams, why are the Seattle Mariners carrying three catchers on their 25-man roster?

No, it's not so that Jamie Burke can pitch in relief.

In Burke, Jeff Clement and Kenji Johjima, there's at least one too many players to give each of them work – so why are they all here?

Burke is a solid backup who's out of options. He can't be sent to the minor leagues. Clement is the catcher of the future, according to the Mariners. And Johjima?

The worst-kept secret in baseball is that pitchers don't like throwing to Joh, and this dates back years. When John McLaren managed, he tried to protect Johjima from criticism, but Jim Riggleman is in charge now.

And Johjima's time behind the plate has been cut severely.

Instead, Johjima – who signed a three-year extension in April – has done a little DHing and a little watching from the bench. Offering him the lucrative extension was not a baseball decision, but one that came directly from Japan.

Now Seattle has to figure out what to do about it. Joh is untradeable with three years on his deal. He also is clearly unhappy with his role today.

It's an issue that's going to be troublesome the remainder of the season and probably beyond.