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February 11, 2009 at 9:44 AM

Abreu and other vets

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Bobby Abreu has signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Angels, meaning Los Angeles just got a pretty good bargain over the type of money the outfielder had initially been looking for. This doesn’t mean the M’s could have had Abreu for that price. A bidding war with the Angels would have driven the cost up.
But it’s hard not to think of this as an opportunity missed by the Mariners. You can’t boast about not being anxious to dump salary — as M’s president Chuck Armstrong did last fall — then saddle your new regime with cost restrictions just when the prices of some decent veteran hitters are coming cheaper than expected.
Anyhow, one more name out of the way, starting with the letter G. and ending with Anderson, and Ken Griffey Jr. will be a Mariner again.
By the way, how smart does Raul Ibanez now look for grabbing that three-year deal from Philly at $10 million per? Getting out of this game early truly did prove beneficial. That’s some good work by his agent.
Some of you are getting hung up on this whole “is Kenji Johjima the starting catcher?” deal. Of course he’s the starting catcher, at least heading into this spring. Believe it or not, you still have to win jobs in the majors. Meaning, you have to take it away from the incumbent. Johjima is the incumbent. And despite having youth on his side, Jeff Clement did not exactly go out and win the job last season. For all the bad Johjima did at the plate, Clement wasn’t all that much better and still has plenty to learn about catching at the major league level.
So, I see nothing wrong with Don Wakamatsu stating the obvious: that Johjima is still the incumbent until somebody takes the job away from him. Clement will have to earn the No. 1 job. Why else should he get it? Because he’s younger? He has to show that he’s better. He can start by doing it at spring training. At least this year, Clement seems a good bet to make the team. That wasn’t the case a year ago. So, his prospects are looking up. Don’t forget, he’s coming off knee surgery and has to show he’s 100 percent.
If Johjima goes out this spring and picks up where he left off last year — both at the WBC and in the final 10 days or so of camp — then Clement has a shot at taking the job away from him. But Johjima at least has a major league track record for the team to go off of. Clement’s is very short and not all that great. He has a chance to add to it this spring. I’m very interested in seeing what he does because this is a catching competition that could very well continue deep into the regular season.
For now, the world keeps on spinning as it always has. Want someone’s job? Take it away from that person.

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