It is looking more and more like the Mariners are going to sign Japanese catcher Kenji Jojima. He cancelled his visit with the Mets today and has not visited any other team.
This is a really big deal. Believe it or not this is a big deal signing for the Mariners.
The focus all season is left handing hitting and pitching, but another really important thing is depth in the line-up. In my mind the biggest problem with the way the Mariners have been built is they give away outs throughout their line-up. They have dead spots all over the plce.
This move is a big deal when you consider how awful the mariners catching was last year. I don’t know if Jojima can duplicate his .300 30 HR Japanese numbers but, listen to these numbers.
There are two advanced ways to look at a baseball players performance, one is the Bill James equation of win shares. In the win shares department the Mariners catchers combined for 5 all year. If you combine all of them they would be 18th in the American League. Their aren’t 18 teams. If they get a catcher that is somewhat solid that is a big improvement.
The other measuring stick is Value over Replacement Player, the theory here is how did the player perform in comparisons to the average player called up from AAA. The Mariners catchers combined for –5. They had a below AAA catcher all year.
That is why this signing is a big deal. You don’t need to know anything about Jojima or have any idea what he is going to do and it is a big singing.