Results tagged ‘ Rob Johnson ’

Rob Johnson happy about landing in San Diego

 
JohnsonRobBat.jpgFor Rob Johnson, a new start in San Diego sounds perfect after the uncertainty of what might happen in the wake of being designated for assignment last week by the Mariners.

Johnson didn’t perform well last year and leaves Seattle on a low note, but those who worked with the 28-year-old catcher have nothing but positive hopes for a player who gave everything he could to the Mariners last year while pushing to come back as quickly as possible from a pair of offseason hip surgeries.

I spoke with Johnson shortly after his trade for a player to be named later or cash considerations was announced by the Mariners, who went looking a new direction after signing veteran Miguel Olivo.

No sour grapes from Johnson, just appreciation for getting his initial Major League shot with Seattle and a little wistfulness over not being 100-percent healthy last season when he and Adam Moore shared most of the catching duties.

“I couldn’t move the way I wanted to move,” he said. “But that’s the way it goes. I came off the surgeries, was asked to play, wanted to play and believed I could play. That’s where it ended up.”

The Butte, Mont., native is one of those throw-back guys who just sucks it up and does what he can. In this case, it wasn’t enough as he hit just .191 and struggled behind the plate with a league-high nine passed balls.

“I went out and gave everything I had at every moment,” he said. “I didn’t try to favor it. the end results were the end results. Now I get to turn the page and start new and look forward.”

In this case, that means heading to the Padres training complex — which just happens to be next door to the Mariners’ facility in Peoria, Ariz., about 15 minutes from where he lives with his wife and son.

In other words, his new start has a familiar feel.

“LIke my dad said, I just need to park in a different lot,” he said.

And take advantage of his new chance with the Padres, who are looking to replace Yorvit Torrealba, who signed with Texas last week. Nick Hundley split duties with Torrealba last year and is expected to get the bulk of work this coming year, but the Padres are definitely looking for someone to help out there and Johnson figures to get a good shot.

As for the Mariners’ return, at this point the player to be named later is unknown. But in these deals, if an agreement can’t be made within a certain time on who that PTBNL is, then it turns into a cash payment instead.

Here’s my full story on the trade and more of Johnson’s reaction on Mariners.com.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Despite Rob Johnson’s struggles, I didn’t see this one coming

JohnsonRob.jpg

Mariners catcher Rob Johnson caught 141 games for the Mariners over the past two seasons. (Photo by Otto Van Gruele Jr./Getty Images).

When you lose 101 games, change is inevitable. So it probably should be no huge surprise the Mariners jettisoned catcher Rob Johnson on Monday, designating the 28-year-old for assignment to clear 40-man roster room for Jack Cust.

But the move still is a bit of an eyebrow raiser, given the Mariners’ lack of depth behind the plate and the fact Johnson was the team’s Opening Day catcher just last season and was a well-regarded prospect not long ago as a fourth-round Draft pick in ’04.

We’ll have to see if anything plays out in the next 10 days, when the club must either trade, release or outright him to the Minor Leagues. It’s possible Johnson could still be dealt, given many teams are looking for catching help.

But Johnson’s run in Seattle appears done, which is frustrating for a franchise that had high hopes for him and Jeff Clement and Adam Moore as the backstops of the future behiind Kenji Johjima just two years ago.

Now Moore is the only one from that group still remaining and even he now will be competing with Miguel Olivo for playing time in the coming season.

I figured the club would give Johnson a chance to rebound this season after he struggled both at the plate and defensively last year after pushing hard to come back from offseason hip surgeries.

But there seems to be one truth that is difficult for Johnson to overcome. He is one of those right-handed hitters who struggles to solve Safeco Field, where he hit .122 last year and just .161 in his four years in Seattle.

Compare that with a .250 road mark last year and .239 career road average. Even though Johnson has played only 161 career games, those are pretty significant trends.

The Mariners had other names on their 40-man roster who seemed more expendable, including several of the 10 players added last month to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. But once added, a player must be exposed to the waiver process if they are taken off again.

Johnson drew the short straw at this juncture, indicating either the team doesn’t value him quite as highly as some might have been expected or they have a deal in the works and figure they can move him in the next 10 days.

Much like Jose Lopez, who could find a nice boost in his move to Colorado’s Coors Field, here’s hoping Johnson lands in a good spot to revive his career. He’s a first-class guy, one of the most-accountable players in the Mariners’ clubhouse in recent years, and pitchers enjoyed throwing to him.

Jarrod Washburn, for example, was a guy who loved working with Johnson.

But the Mariners need upgrades. They need improvement at catcher among many positions. The veteran Olivo and 26-year-old Moore will be expected to produce this season.

And Rob Johnson will get another shot as well. It just doesn’t appear that shot will be in Seattle.

 

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