It’s never too early to start looking ahead, so we’re going to begin looking at the competition in Mariners camp, position by position.
And that didn’t include the man dubbed Seattle’s regular catcher by manager Don Wakamatsu: Kenji Johjima.
What that means, unfortunately, is that the best defensive catchers – Burke and Johnson – will probably start the year in Class AAA Tacoma. And, come to think of it, neither Johjima nor Clement put up much of an offense in 2008, either.
Clement, meanwhile, has had only 219 big-league at-bats, and in those has batted an unremarkable .237 with seven home runs. His swing has shown power in the minors, but it’s yet to translate consistently in Seattle.
In his first year as manager, former catcher Wakamatsu knows all this. What he might do in a perfect world isn’t going to happen, not with Johjima in the first year of a new three-year contract. And not with Clement, 25, offering the possibility of left-handed power in Safeco Field. If Clement hits his weight here (215 pounds), he goes north.
A lot of catching talent, no real competition.