Monday, October 19, 2009

Sayonra Johjima-san

Interesting news out of Seattle. Catcher Kenji Johjima has decided to return to Japan and cancel the final two years left on his contract:

Kenji had an option to return to Japan and used it - leaving all $16 million on the table by walking away.

GM Jack Zduriencik tactfully said the decision was all Johjima's.

"We are very appreciative of everything Kenji has done for this organization over the past four seasons," Zduriencik said. "We respect his decision to return home. Joh has been a terrific teammate and a great competitor. His work ethic, production and desire to win made him a positive role model. We wish Kenji the very best and will follow his career."

Signed before the 2006 season – at the behest of Japanese ownership – Johjima batted .291 with 18 home runs and 76 RBI over 144 games of his first season. Those were numbers he’d never repeat.

One wonders if Kosuke Fukudome has a similar clause in his contract and if he'd consider exercising it.

Then again, this is a Jim Hendry contract. To expect a pro-management clause like this without some sort of financial kicker is probably unreasonable.

Ivy Chat has no ill-will against Mr. Fukudome, but readily agrees that his contract money would be better spent on other players. Does anyone know if Chunichi needs an outfielder back?

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