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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Monday, November 21, 2005

Mariners - Signed Johjima

Seattle Mariners - Signed C Kenji Johjima to a 3-year contract worth $16.5 million.

One of the best thing about signing Japanese players?  It has to be the great fun of putting Japanese sites through Babelfish as was necessary to get Johjima (or Jojima)‘s 2005 stats.  You always have mixed results - I understand what “coming out base ratio” and “long batting average” are, but I’m still not sure how the free agent catcher earned 33 “Annie Oakleys” or 16 “Dead Spheres.”  The Hawks official website also has lots of recent pictures of Johjima doing activities such as checking residence environment and aiming toward measure transfer.  He’s also apparently met a lot with the king director, a title I’m sure Jim Bowden would love to assign himself.

Nice play by the Mariners here - Johjima’s got more upside than the other catchers in this less-than-enthralling free agent market, Ramon Hernandez or Ben Molina.  Letting someone else pay to keep the Molina family awash in Pop Tarts for the next few years is the better choice here, I feel.  Much has been made of the communication angle, but I don’t think that’s really a big deal.  After all, the only really good pitcher on the Mariners, King Felix, speaks little English and I don’t think all that English communication kept Aaron Sele or Ryan Franklin from pitching terribly.

Projection Japanese players is still tricky - I’d expect less accuracy with this projection.

2006 ZiPS Projection - Kenji Johjima
————————————————————————————-
AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
————————————————————————————-
444 59 121 27 1 21 67 44 52   3 .273 .342 .480

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: November 21, 2005 at 08:08 PM | 52 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 21, 2005 at 08:34 PM (#1740993)
He had 33 pairs of sun glasses? What for?
   2. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 21, 2005 at 08:44 PM (#1741010)
16 "Dead Spheres
All the position players had vasectomies?
   3. 1k5v3L Posted: November 21, 2005 at 08:45 PM (#1741011)
yay. that's beltre's production from the catching position.

omar really screwed up by not signing him. despite the matsui fiasco.

couldn't someone convince omar that japan is actually south of chile?
   4. sardonic Posted: November 21, 2005 at 08:47 PM (#1741014)
couldn't someone convince omar that japan is actually south of chile?


The year-round snow and ice is a killer, but imagine being able to have like a sextuple-header in natural daylight for half the year!
   5. Kyle S Posted: November 21, 2005 at 08:51 PM (#1741022)
I'll take the under on that projection.
   6. OlePerfesser Posted: November 21, 2005 at 08:55 PM (#1741028)
No disrespect meant to The Oracle or ZiPS, but if Jojima slugs over .400 this coming year, I will go on a no-chowdah diet and wear Yankee pajamas all next winter.

Anyway, kudos to The Oracle for quickly whipping up that projection, wildly optimistic though it may be. Remember, this is a move by Bavasi, a.k.a Bizarro Midas.
   7. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: November 21, 2005 at 09:11 PM (#1741061)
Dan, I don't know if it has all the stats you want, but his numbers are in English here.
The walks and power in the projection look a little high...
   8. Bob T Posted: November 21, 2005 at 09:17 PM (#1741074)
The Mariners website is going with Johjima and has a picture of the man batting wear an armband with "Johjima 2" on it.

Seeing how he spells his name is the biggest issue for me.

So now who wants Yorvit Torrealba?
   9. ECBucs Posted: November 21, 2005 at 09:35 PM (#1741103)
Those numbers don't look like a 5 million a year player to me (especially since they are pretty speculative).

Is he considered to be close to as talented as Ichiro?

Is he Johnny Bench on defense?

Or is he going to be another Kaz Matsui?
   10. WillieMays Haze Posted: November 21, 2005 at 09:41 PM (#1741111)
Kaz' first year in the majors:
460 ABs
65 R
32 2B
7 HR
44 RBI
63 RC
40 BBs/97 Ks
.272/.331/.396

If the Johjima numbers are supposedly a little high, then he's looking alot like another Kaz to me.
   11. 1k5v3L Posted: November 21, 2005 at 09:42 PM (#1741115)
Yorvit will end up in COL. Along with the other mariners rejects.
   12. Bob T Posted: November 21, 2005 at 09:42 PM (#1741116)
I don't how well Jo(h)jima will hit, but he does have a very good throwing arm. It's tough to compare a catcher to a middle infielder, but when I saw both men play, Jojima impressed me more.

But I'm no judge of talent.
   13. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 21, 2005 at 09:46 PM (#1741121)
No disrespect meant to The Oracle or ZiPS, but if Jojima slugs over .400 this coming year, I will go on a no-chowdah diet and wear Yankee pajamas all next winter.

Well, that's worth bookmarking this thread for
   14. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: November 21, 2005 at 09:49 PM (#1741128)
He just won his 7th Gold Glove, which can't be a bad thing. I've read mixed things on his defense, but more positive than negative.

Naively, I think he'll be the next A.J. Pierzynski, minus the persona.
   15. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: November 21, 2005 at 09:53 PM (#1741141)
No disrespect meant to The Oracle or ZiPS, but if Jojima slugs over .400 this coming year, I will go on a no-chowdah diet and wear Yankee pajamas all next winter.

How about we make you eat "Manhattan Chowder" instead?
   16. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: November 21, 2005 at 09:54 PM (#1741143)
Here's Jim Albright's take.
   17. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: November 21, 2005 at 10:00 PM (#1741159)
ZIPS did a great job of projecting Iguchi's stats this season, if I remember correctly.
   18. Greg Franklin Posted: November 21, 2005 at 10:13 PM (#1741188)
Bob, there was some fantasization up here right after the Randy Winn trade that Torrealba was only needing to be set free. After seeing him struggle and be continually pinch-hit for late in games, I think the brass decided Yorvit was just a fungible backup catcher, and that the M's still needed to go out and get a true starter.

Bottom line, he will stay on and be the backup to Johjima (or Jojima). If anything should happen to either one of them, look for Seattle to bring back World Series MVP Pat Borders from wherever he's at.
   19. Kevin Sweet Child Romine (aco) Posted: November 21, 2005 at 10:25 PM (#1741218)
Iguchi

ZiPS: 480 AB, .281/.363/.427, 30 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR, 17 SB, 58 BB, 90 SO

Actual: 511 AB, .278/.342/.438, 25 2B, 6 3B, 15 HR, 15 SB, 47 BB, 114 SO

Pretty close. He walked less, struck out more and basically traded some of those doubles for triples.
   20. AROM Posted: November 21, 2005 at 10:33 PM (#1741237)
Naively, I think he'll be the next A.J. Pierzynski, minus the persona.

He doesn't walk too much, makes good contact, has hit similar HR totals to Iguchi and K Matsui, maybe a bit better, so he may hit 15 in the bigs.

A.J.'s not a bad call, but Kenji Johjima rhymes with Bengie Molina. I've seen pictures though and he ain't fat.
   21. The Balls of Summer Posted: November 21, 2005 at 10:54 PM (#1741280)
Naively, I think he'll be the next A.J. Pierzynski, minus the persona.


Speaking of AJ and language barriers, I heard AJ interviewed on the radio during the playoffs. The host asked, "What did Ozzie say to Contreras when he came out to talk to him in the 7th?" AJ responds, "I have no clue, the whole conversation was in Spanish!"

Just a little insight into how unimportant the language barrier is.
   22. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: November 21, 2005 at 11:35 PM (#1741375)
No disrespect meant to The Oracle or ZiPS, but if Jojima slugs over .400 this coming year, I will go on a no-chowdah diet and wear Yankee pajamas all next winter.

You better keep your word on this.
   23. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: November 22, 2005 at 12:44 AM (#1741469)
How old is Kenji? This seems to matter more with catchers than with other positions.
   24. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 22, 2005 at 03:04 AM (#1741719)
For the record, Dan, that "dead sphere" total is probably HBP, aka "dedu boru".

Japanese Gold Gloves are a lot like the ones here, in that they often don't end up in the hands of the best fielders.
   25. bookbook Posted: November 22, 2005 at 03:16 AM (#1741747)
As an M's fan, I'm of (at least) two minds.

First: Great signing! Exciting Japanese player comes to Seattle on the Pacific rim and shows his stuff. This is a pretty good risk for the team.

Second: Wasn't it just months ago that we drafted Clement, a polished college catcher, to lock up the position into the future? Does this team not have the attention span to hold to a plan through a single offseason? (I won't even mention Torrealba et al.)

Third: Weren't Ben Davis, Miguel Olivo, Christianson, and Torrealba solid pickups at C all in their time? Heck, Davis and Olivo were established producers at the major league level before coming to the emerald city. Is it perhaps long past time for the M's to admit that they're cursed at catcher, resurrect Pat Borders and Wilson and be done with it? Why throw good money after bad?
   26. Bob T Posted: November 22, 2005 at 04:30 AM (#1741867)
Kenji Johjima was born June 8, 1976 in Nagasaki, Japan.
   27. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: November 22, 2005 at 04:43 AM (#1741886)
Japanese Gold Gloves are a lot like the ones here, in that they often don't end up in the hands of the best fielders.
True, but they don't tend to go to butchers either.
   28. Sakata Posted: November 22, 2005 at 01:17 PM (#1742182)
Nice quick projections on him. It's pretty much in line with most mid-lines of Johjima. It does, however, give him more power than most. The Baseball Prospectus has him at a high-line of .300/ .380/ .475, and .270/ .340/ .440 as the mid-line. Overall, he's considered to be on the Bengie Molina level... if you're being conservative...


<fieldset><legend>Posted by levski</legend>omar really screwed up by not signing him.</fieldset>
The Mets never had any chance to get Johjima. From the very beginning, Seattle was his target; being quoted as saying he was "95% sure" he'd be going to Seattle back before Halloween.


<fieldset><legend>Posted by ECBucs</legend>Is he considered to be close to as talented as Ichiro?</fieldset>
He is considered to be in the same class of NPB players as Ichiro and Matsui Hideki and above the class of Iguchi Tadahito and Matsui Kazuo, yes.


<fieldset><legend>Posted by ECBucs</legend>Is he Johnny Bench on defense?</fieldset>
Are 7 straight Gold Gloves and 4 straight years of leading the NPB in CS% (around 50% each season) Johnny Bench/ Pudge Rodriguez-esque numbers? I do believe so.


<fieldset><legend>Posted by ECBucs</legend>Or is he going to be another Kaz Matsui?</fieldset>
With NPB superstars, the most significant stat to look at when projecting their success in the US is their K/BB ratio. Matsui Kazuo and Shinjo Tsuyoshi had 2:1 K/BB Ratios in Japan. Ichiro, Matsui Hideki, and Johjima all had K/BB Ratios around 1:1 and Iguchi Tadahito around 3:2. Of course, there have been only a handful of position players to come across, but that is already looking like a pattern to me.


<fieldset><legend>Posted by bookbook</legend>Wasn't it just months ago that we drafted Clement, a polished college catcher, to lock up the position into the future? Does this team not have the attention span to hold to a plan through a single offseason? (I won't even mention Torrealba et al.)</fieldset>
Optimistic projections on Clement's ML arrival are typically mid-season 2007, at the earliest. Realistically speaking, he would possibly be ready Opening Day 2008, the last year of Johjima's contract. And even then, if his defensive skills don't advance far enough, he may not even come to the Majors as a catcher, at all. In may very well be in the Mariners' best interest to move Clement to 3B, 1B, or LF if his defense doesn't improve to well above average because of the physical strain playing catcher does on a player's offense and because of the presence of Rob Johnson in our system, who may develop into an average offensive catcher with good-to-great Defensive skills. If that happens, the Mariners would be very smart to to move Clement so his great power potential lasts for 5 or 6 years instead of 3 or 4 years.

So given that;
1) Does a smart GM stay off the market of a huge upgrade (net of +40 runs to the offense) at a premium position because of a Blue-chip prospect who's not even in AA and maybe 2 to 3 years away? No.
2) Does a smart GM plan for the arrival of such prospects when signing Free Agents like Johjima, at all? No.
3) Is Bill Bavasi a smart GM? Yes.


<fieldset><legend>Posted by bookbook</legend>Weren't Ben Davis, Miguel Olivo, Christianson, and Torrealba solid pickups at C all in their time?</fieldset>
Compared to what we had, yeah. But, then again, we have had a Black Hole at Catcher since, um... uh... 1998, I believe... But Johima's worst projections (I've seen credible sources go as low as .270/.319/.413) have him as an upper-tier catcher, and his mid-tier has him as a Top-10 catcher... As demonstrated here, Johjima is one of the biggest improvements the Mariners could make this offseason. Right up there with Burnett, Millwood, and Giles.


<fieldset><legend>Posted by bookbook</legend>Heck, Davis and Olivo were established producers at the major league level before coming to the emerald city.</fieldset>
Riiiiight...

Ben Davis' career line before coming to Seattle:
.238/.314/.355 in 845 AB

Miguel Olivo's career line before coming to Seattle:
.245/.295/.403 in 477 AB

Yeah... "established producers," all right... Both of them had fewer than 1000 AB and K/BB Ratios over 2.25. Both were young and Gillick foolishly believed they could eventually hit (of course, Gillick wasn't exactly the brightest of GMs, in my opinion...) Davis was always just blech and only a good acquisition because we gave up the declining Lampkin. Olivo had upside coming into Seattle, but completely imploded when he got into an unfavorable park (not like the Mariners haven't had that happen before, though...)
   29. JPWF13 Posted: November 22, 2005 at 05:40 PM (#1742412)
True, but they don't tend to go to butchers either.

Kaz Matsui says Hi
   30. Nuclear Dish Posted: November 22, 2005 at 11:17 PM (#1743124)
For the record, Dan, that "dead sphere" total is probably HBP, aka "dedu boru".

No way. Those are passed balls. Babel fish doesn't always find the right word in its translation. Passed = dead and Ball = sphere.

Still have no clue on the Annie Oakleys, though. My guess is intentional walks, as the term "Annie Oakleys" used to be a slang term for free tickets to a show. Thus free passes = intentional walks. That's a lot of IBBs though.
   31. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: November 23, 2005 at 04:52 AM (#1743485)
Kaz Matsui says Hi
And that's why I said <u>tend</u>. :)

Annie Oakleys are walks, intentional or not. I don't think "dead sphere" is passed balls, as another entry is labeled "passed ball" (plus, that would be way more than his career averages) - could it be double plays?
Also, I like how his Hawks' page (babelfished link) mentions his blood type (A) and links to his commercials.
   32. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: November 23, 2005 at 04:56 AM (#1743487)
Strike that double play comment, I'm fairly sure dead sphere is HBP - that would fit in with his recent career norms and matches up well with Borisov's OBP numbers.
   33. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: November 23, 2005 at 06:33 AM (#1743512)
I think Bill Bavasi is the best GM in the AL West.
   34. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 23, 2005 at 07:31 AM (#1743536)
I think this is a great signing. Let's remember what a terrible hitting position C is, so if Joujima's stellar defense translates to MLB, he would be a bargain if he hits like A.J.
   35. CFiJ Posted: November 23, 2005 at 07:04 PM (#1744105)
"Dead Spheres" is definitely HPB. They are represented in characters as ?? = dead sphere. The Japanese term for a HPB is, as Vlad mentioned, ??????, "deddo booru".

"Annie Oakleys" is walks, but I have no idea where that comes from. The Japanese term (on the webpage) is ?? - four balls.

I think Jojima's a good player, but I don't know that this season will be a good story for him. Safeco will likely depress his numbers a bit, so they won't look particularly good, and I don't think Jojima alone will fix the Mariners.
   36. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: January 18, 2006 at 03:52 AM (#1826213)
No disrespect meant to The Oracle or ZiPS, but if Jojima slugs over .400 this coming year, I will go on a no-chowdah diet and wear Yankee pajamas all next winter.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/top-20-catchers-for-2006/

Kenji Johjima: One of the offseason's earliest signings, Johjima jumped from Japan to play for the Mariners. He could get near 500 at-bats in 2006, and he has good power even after adjusting his Japanese numbers. I think he's capable of hitting .290 with 15-17 home runs this season. Lock him up before he becomes a household name in fantasy.
   37. Flynn Posted: January 19, 2006 at 06:13 PM (#1828508)
True, but they don't tend to go to butchers either.

Hideki won several gold gloves as a CF in Japan. Err..
   38. Dan Szymborski Posted: September 08, 2006 at 03:34 PM (#2171380)
No disrespect meant to The Oracle or ZiPS, but if Jojima slugs over .400 this coming year, I will go on a no-chowdah diet and wear Yankee pajamas all next winter.

Got some bad news for you, OP...

Do they make adult Yankee pajamas? You might have to go with a Yankee t-shirt and sweatpants.
   39. The Original SJ Posted: September 08, 2006 at 03:43 PM (#2171391)
They make Adult woman's yankee pajamas.

I have been unable to find adumt Men's yankee pajamas.
   40. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: September 08, 2006 at 04:05 PM (#2171415)
Joh's SLG is .449 at this time, and he shows no signs of wearing out in the stretch.

Should it be just no New England chowdah, or no Manhatten-style as well?
   41. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: September 08, 2006 at 04:20 PM (#2171426)
"Annie Oakleys" is walks, but I have no idea where that comes from. The Japanese term (on the webpage) is ?? - four balls.

Maybe there's something we didn't know about Annie Oakley.
   42. AROM Posted: September 08, 2006 at 04:50 PM (#2171450)
One catcher is hitting 281/316/448 with 16 HR, 17 BB, and 41 K

Another is hitting 296/336/449 with 14 HR, 17 BB, 35 K

Without looking, can you tell which stat line belongs to who? Turns out Kenji Johjima really is Japanese for Bengie Molina.
   43. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: September 08, 2006 at 04:54 PM (#2171454)
the lower one is Johjima. and i didn't look.
   44. CrosbyBird Posted: September 08, 2006 at 05:03 PM (#2171461)
omar really screwed up by not signing him. despite the matsui fiasco.

Paul LoDuca: .313/.351/.417, $12.5M/2
Kenji Jojima:.293/.336/.449, $16.5M/3

Are the Mets really getting killed here? I'd rather have Jojima, but catcher isn't really a problem for them.
   45. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: September 08, 2006 at 05:09 PM (#2171466)
Plus, didn't the Mariners need to pay a rather substantial fee for the rights to negotiate with Jojima? Or was he not "posted"? I remember that it was maybe going to be one way, maybe another...
   46. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 08, 2006 at 05:17 PM (#2171476)
I wonder if OleProfessor is going to live up to his word.
   47. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: September 08, 2006 at 05:30 PM (#2171491)
He was not posted, he was a free agent.

He visited Seattle, then flew to NY to visit the Mets. But as I understand it, he never met with them. After he arrived there, he told his agent that he wanted to sign with Seattle.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, the phenom 25-year-old Japanese pitcher, would have to be posted to be available this winter. Numbers like 25-30 million have been tossed around as a possible winning bid. That fee is refunded if the player and team don't reach agreement on a MLB contract, and the player stays property of the Japanese team. And heh, heh, I only know one MLB catcher who can speak fluent Japanese.
   48. The Original SJ Posted: September 08, 2006 at 05:44 PM (#2171502)
I wonder if OleProfessor is going to live up to his word.

Well, If he does, I just found a pair of PJs with footsies.

I made a similair statement last year, if chacon repeated his '05, everyone could come to my door and kick me in the nuts. I am glad that one didn't pan out.
   49. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: October 14, 2006 at 12:29 PM (#2211202)
.451. No soup for you!
   50. CFiJ Posted: October 14, 2006 at 01:49 PM (#2211214)
OlePerfesser and Rob Dibble should form a group...
   51. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 14, 2006 at 02:00 PM (#2211219)
I only know one MLB catcher who can speak fluent Japanese.

Moe Berg is dead, dude.
   52. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: October 21, 2006 at 02:19 AM (#2220004)
Moe Berg is dead, dude.

Very nice, rLr.

But in truth, the catcher's language is irrelevant for a posted player, and I fear that your Yankees will rise up with a gigantic bid.

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