Mariners Insider Blog

Now Catching For The Mariners in 2009 ...

No matter who the general manager or manager is by spring training, one of the more complicated questons the Seattle Mariners face is behind the plate.

Kenji Johjima, who began the 2008 season as a 31-year-old with a career .289 big-league average, signed a three-year contract extension in April.

Jeff Clement was just beginning to make strides - at the plate and behind it - when knee surgery ended his season last month.

And then there's Jamie Burke, Rob Johnson and, not far behind, Adam Moore.



Some might see that as a wealth of catching, but it's unlikely the Mariners can carry more than two next year.



Johjima and Clement are catchers, and using either as a first baseman or full time designated hitter isn't in the immediate future.

Clement's knee surgery will keep him off the field until December. The team doesn't see him as a first basemnan or DH yet, and doesn't want him to think otherwise.



Similarly, Johjima is eating up the lion's share of September starts despite the presence of Johnson.

Why?



"Right now, Johjim is the No. 1 catcher," Jim Riggleman said. "He's throwing runners out, and in the last six weeks he's come on at the plate and as a catcher. I think we're starting to see what this team saw his first few years."

If Joh's No. 1 going into spring, where is Clement?



Can the team platoon them and get the most from either?

And if you're Burke, Johnson or Moore, is your future somewhre other than Seattle?

Not only don't the Mariners know the answers, they don't yet know who will be answering them.

  Comments