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Monday, November 21, 2005

Seattle Times: M’s to sign Japanese catcher Johjima

Scoring the first big-name free-agent signing of the offseason, the Mariners will announce the signing of catcher Kenji Johjima, possibly as soon as today.

Sources say that Johjima has agreed to terms with Seattle. His name is much bigger in Japan, where he has averaged .305 with 30 homers the past five years and won seven straight Gold Gloves.

GM Bill Bavasi, on the fact that Johjima doesn’t speak English…..If he’s here, we wouldn’t regard it any different than the situation with Latin guys. He’d have to pick up some English and even some Spanish. But we’re talking about enough to get the next hitter out, not to split the atom.

Nice touch, Bavasi.

Repoz Posted: November 21, 2005 at 12:34 PM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mariners

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   1. 1k5v3L Posted: November 21, 2005 at 01:25 PM (#1740402)
woo hoo. slow news day, so let's talk catchers...

i haven't been this excited about a japanese import since A.W.E.S.O.M.O. 4000.

[az catching hijack]

in other dumb news, the dbacks may be looking at Paul LoDookie

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/index.php?sty=53592

[end az catching hijacks]
   2. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 21, 2005 at 01:32 PM (#1740406)
He’d have to pick up some English and even some Spanish. But we’re talking about enough to get the next hitter out, not to split the atom.

"Fastball away" is not difficult vocabulary. I'm sure Johjima has caught plenty of <strike>cracker </strike> foreign pitchers before anyway.
   3. Artie Ziff Posted: November 21, 2005 at 01:35 PM (#1740407)
Seattle has been courting Johjima for a while according to the Times. The Mariners better have more cards up their sleeves if they wish to compete next season.
   4. Johnny Zen Posted: November 21, 2005 at 01:40 PM (#1740410)
PLD is getting pretty close to that catcher point of no return, age-wise. 2 years/12 million wouldn't cripple you, especially if the fish pay some of it. But I don't see him reverting back to 2001 form, not even at the BOB.
   5. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 21, 2005 at 01:43 PM (#1740412)
Since most pitch calls are hand signals anyway, I don't think this is likely to be a big deal. All they'd lose is the potential calming influence during a conference on the mound, and while that's a consideration, it's probably not a deal-breaker, particularly if Jojima does succeed in adding some basic Engligh.
   6. 1k5v3L Posted: November 21, 2005 at 01:44 PM (#1740415)
PLD is a local kid, proven veteran winner, blah blah blah. I hope the Dumbacks have learned not to overpay for those (ie, Russ Ortiz) and Josh Byrnes may yet convince KenKen and Moorad to back away. But, having just signed Green to gather the Jewish diaspora in the right field bleachers, I can see them going after la famiglia for the luxury boxes...
   7. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 21, 2005 at 01:48 PM (#1740419)
All they'd lose is the potential calming influence during a conference on the mound, and while that's a consideration, it's probably not a deal-breaker, particularly if Jojima does succeed in adding some basic Engligh.


I've told this story on Primer before...

but this Taiwanese pitcher walks 2 guys in a row.

This Japanese pitching coach walks up to the mound... grabs the guy by the testicles, and goes "ARE YOU STILL A MAN?"

Strikes out the side.
   8. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 21, 2005 at 01:48 PM (#1740422)
But, having just signed Green to gather the Jewish diaspora in the right field bleachers

There's a Jewish WHAT at BOB?
   9. 1k5v3L Posted: November 21, 2005 at 01:50 PM (#1740424)

There's a Jewish WHAT at BOB?


you're right; they all go to Florida, not Arizona...

apparently Moorad didn't realize that when he traded for Shawny...
   10. Rally Posted: November 21, 2005 at 02:05 PM (#1740441)
Maybe Ichiro will have to run in from right to act as interpreter when they confer on the mound.

How about a trade for Kaz Matsui? It would be a shorter walk.
   11. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 21, 2005 at 02:12 PM (#1740456)
How about a trade for Kaz Matsui? It would be a shorter walk.

It would be a short walk when the temperamental gaijin pitcher walks off the mound and beats the krap out of Matsui for botching consecutive groundballs.
   12. CraigK Posted: November 21, 2005 at 02:25 PM (#1740466)
I've told this story on Primer before...

but this Taiwanese pitcher walks 2 guys in a row.

This Japanese pitching coach walks up to the mound... grabs the guy by the testicles, and goes "ARE YOU STILL A MAN?"

Strikes out the side.


Note to self: Tell Tony La Russa to do that with Ray King.
   13. 1k5v3L Posted: November 21, 2005 at 02:30 PM (#1740469)
Meh. Piazza did that all the time with Ishii. Didn't make a difference.
   14. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 21, 2005 at 02:34 PM (#1740473)
Meh. Piazza did that all the time with Ishii. Didn't make a difference.

Grab and Stroke are different
   15. Bob T Posted: November 21, 2005 at 03:49 PM (#1740584)
So why are the Seattle papers using the Johjima spelling when everybody else uses "Jojima" including the English language press in Japan.

Old Japan Time story
   16. OlePerfesser Posted: November 21, 2005 at 03:51 PM (#1740588)
What? No ZiPS projection for Jojima yet?

Szymborski has lost a step or two.
   17. CFiJ Posted: November 21, 2005 at 03:59 PM (#1740595)
So why are the Seattle papers using the Johjima spelling when everybody else uses "Jojima" including the English language press in Japan.

Probably because that's what is on the back of his jersey. Baseball jersey romanization is terribly inconsistent.
   18. 1k5v3L Posted: November 21, 2005 at 04:25 PM (#1740631)
Details on the contract from Kendoki San:

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5102726

The Mariners have signed Japanese free-agent catcher Kenji Johjima to a three-year, $16.5 million contract, FOXSports.com has learned.

The deal also includes incentives based on games played that could push the total value of the package to nearly $19 million.



[channeling Kramer, talking to baldy Bavasi]

You blew it, boy. You really blew it!
   19. Jack Sommers Posted: November 21, 2005 at 04:55 PM (#1740697)
Benjie Molina and Ramon Hernandez both just placed an order with FTD to send flowers and thankyou cards to Johjima.

Prediction: Molina gets more or less the same deal as Johjima, and Hernandez gets 3/21.
   20. 1k5v3L Posted: November 21, 2005 at 04:59 PM (#1740704)
and Hernandez gets 3/21.

Ramon shouldn't have fired Boras to hire you as his agent. You stink at it :)
   21. PepTech Posted: November 21, 2005 at 05:05 PM (#1740718)
First, it's hard to believe no one besides Repoz has noticed the "split the atom" faux pas. Bavasi probably didn't either, but a rough coincidence.

CFiJ could do it better than I could, but some factions put the H into a long "O" when romanizing, and some don't. The city of Tokyo is actually "spelled" TO-O-KYO-O in Nihongo, but I've *never* seen "Tohkyoh". Beginning Japanese textbooks might use Tôkyô (where the carat denotes the long "o" sound) or, rarely, Tookyoo, but it seems like most romanized writings assume the reader has enough familiarity with the language to "hear" the long "o" without it actually being written.
   22. PepTech Posted: November 21, 2005 at 05:09 PM (#1740723)
I should add that "long" vowels in Japanese are really just two beats of the same sound - Japanese vowels are *always* sounded the same; think Spanish vowels. Any vowel can be lengthened (like the city of Niigata), but I don't remember seeing the "h" device after anything but an "o".
   23. CFiJ Posted: November 21, 2005 at 05:19 PM (#1740748)
First, it's hard to believe no one besides Repoz has noticed the "split the atom" faux pas. Bavasi probably didn't either, but a rough coincidence.

It could have been worse. Jojima could have played for the Hiroshima Carp...
   24. Bob T Posted: November 21, 2005 at 05:27 PM (#1740767)
Whatever spelling is used, the name is going to be unusual in the U.S. A quick check of a nationwide phone book database turned up a grand total of one listing for somebody named "Jojima" and he (just a first initial) lived in Honolulu. There were no "Johjima" listings.

I think the name is going to end up "Jojima". The name "Ito" is relatively common among people with Japanese surnames in the U.S., but in Japan those people would all have their names transliterated as "Itoh".

And Japanese vowels are so short that it's nearly impossible for an untrained ear to pick out words on P.A. systems at baseball games for helpless gaijin trying to keep score as the managers go through their LaRussa-like lineup changes.
   25. 1k5v3L Posted: November 21, 2005 at 05:31 PM (#1740775)
A team (owned by a Mets fan) in my NL only keeper league drafted Jojima last year, as he was convinced the Mets would sign him this year. Almost.
   26. 1k5v3L Posted: November 21, 2005 at 05:59 PM (#1740829)
two japanese players on one team is too many, dayn perry thinks. so he suggests that the mariners trade ichiro!

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5101744

To indulge for a moment in the hypothetical, the M's might pry Philip Hughes and Eric Duncan from the Yankees, Jon Papelbon and Dustin Pedroia from the Red Sox, Anthony Reyes and others from the Cardinals or any number of high-ceiling Dodgers talents. For a team in short-term rebuilding mode, those are some alluring names. Also, given the certain trade interest Ichiro would elicit around the league, the forces of demand might drive the price even higher.

Free Petunia!
   27. CFiJ Posted: November 21, 2005 at 06:06 PM (#1740841)
Dayn Perry writes: For his career, Ichiro has put up a batting line of .332 AVG/.377 OBP/.442 SLG. Over that same span, the average American League right fielder has authored a line of .273 AVG/.339 OBP/.445 SLG. As you can see, Ichiro is comfortably better than the mean in AVG and OBP, but he's a tick below average in the power department.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that a .003 point difference is not statistically significant.
   28. 1k5v3L Posted: November 21, 2005 at 06:15 PM (#1740853)
CFiJ, it's people like you who give plaschke the reason to hate computers.
   29. CFiJ Posted: November 21, 2005 at 06:16 PM (#1740857)
I think the name is going to end up "Jojima". The name "Ito" is relatively common among people with Japanese surnames in the U.S., but in Japan those people would all have their names transliterated as "Itoh".

They would have it transliterated as "Itou", actually, but in actual practice everyone plays fast and loose with romanization, particularly elongated vowels.

But I think you're right that it'll be "Jojima". MLB seems to use standard Hepburn-style romanization. Shinjo, for example, was "Shinjyo" in his stint with the Tigers, but the Mets and Giants romanized it as "Shinjo". His "o" is also elongated. Ichiro's "o" is elongated, as is Otsuka's, and the "o" of So Taguchi.

On the other hand, you have Tomo Ohka. And the "o" for his name is the same as Otsuka's.
   30. CFiJ Posted: November 21, 2005 at 06:18 PM (#1740858)
CFiJ, it's people like you who give plaschke the reason to hate computers.

I can't even use Excel that well!
   31. 1k5v3L Posted: November 21, 2005 at 06:19 PM (#1740860)
Oh. Well, if you can tell a ballplayer by just looking at him, Plaschke's got a job for you in the Dodgers front office.
   32. Bob T Posted: November 21, 2005 at 06:20 PM (#1740861)
In Japan now, Shinjo's name appears on the scoreboard as "SHINJO". It's the only name that is officially written in romaji as far as I can tell.

And it's always all caps, but that could be a feature of the scoreboards in Japan. In Sendai, Shinjo's name briefly appeared on the scoreboard in kanji, but after an inning or two, they changed it to "SHINJO".
   33. CFiJ Posted: November 21, 2005 at 06:31 PM (#1740878)
In Japan now, Shinjo's name appears on the scoreboard as "SHINJO". It's the only name that is officially written in romaji as far as I can tell.

And it's always all caps, but that could be a feature of the scoreboards in Japan.


No, it shows up in all-caps on the news, too, as well as on Yahoo.co.jp's Pro Yakyuu site. It's how his name is now registered with NPB. On his return to Japan, Shinjo's become even more self-promoting than he was before he went Stateside.
   34. Bob T Posted: November 21, 2005 at 06:33 PM (#1740884)
The fans go wild for Shinjo. Even though he seems to stink. His silhouette decorates the Sapporo Dome. Even though he seems to stink.

I saw him play in a game against Chiba and he struck out four times, bounced into a DP and lost a ball in the roof of the Tokyo Dome for a double.
   35. Daryn Posted: November 21, 2005 at 06:48 PM (#1740905)
I saw him play in a game against Chiba and he struck out four times, bounced into a DP and lost a ball in the roof of the Tokyo Dome for a double. ..even though he seems to stink.
   36. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: November 21, 2005 at 06:53 PM (#1740914)
A team (owned by a Mets fan) in my NL only keeper league drafted Jojima last year, as he was convinced the Mets would sign him this year. Almost.


We've outlawed foreigners in my leauge. After a guy drafted Matsui one year with the last pick. Now Kaz is sucking it up on my team for $7, at least I can drop his ass.
   37. Bob T Posted: November 21, 2005 at 06:58 PM (#1740921)
In 2005 SHINJO went 235/274/455. He had 20 HRs, but struck out 64 times with 14 walks.
   38. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: November 22, 2005 at 02:04 AM (#1741716)
First, it's hard to believe no one besides Repoz has noticed the "split the atom" faux pas. Bavasi probably didn't either, but a rough coincidence.

Uh, I got a C+ in nucleur physics in college. Why is this a faux pas? I realize that it hasn't been done, but that doesn't invalidate this use of the expression.
   39. Greg Franklin Posted: November 22, 2005 at 03:23 AM (#1741855)
Perhaps it's an allusion to the Sankei Atoms, or to famous byproducts of nuclear energy attacking Japan?

Nah, I think it's some obscure indie rock reference from Bavasi's atomic dustbin...
   40. Bob T Posted: November 22, 2005 at 03:23 AM (#1741856)
Get the Seattle newspapers a style guide. The Seattle Times is using "Johjima" while the P-I is using "Jojima".
   41. Repoz Posted: November 22, 2005 at 04:34 AM (#1741957)
I saw him play in a game against Chiba and he struck out four times, bounced into a DP and lost a ball in the roof of the Tokyo Dome for a double.

I must have been completly unseeded at the time...but when the heckowie did Rich McKinney play in Japan?

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