Question: If someone walked on the field and put a bullet in Rob Johnson’s head, would anyone stop them?
Answer: It wouldn’t matter. The bullet would just get past him anyways.
This question was posed to me via text message yesterday by my friend Pete, right after Johnson had allowed yet another passed ball. He currently leads the majors with six of those, more than double his closest competition (three players tied with three PBs, including his teammate, Adam Moore).
Worse yet, Johnson has been on the receiving end of 11 wild pitches, as opposed to just four for the entire 2009 season. Technically, blame for that statistic lies on the pitchers. But with such a huge gap between last year’s numbers and this year’s numbers, it’s hard not to point the finger at Johnson.
Don’t worry, sports fans. Together, we can fix our lowly Mariners. I’ve come up with three unique ideas that should provide an immediate lift. Enjoy.
Step One: Put Brandon League on a raft and send him out to sea
League originally hails from Hawaii. If Mother Nature is just, the Mariners’ 27-year-old setup man will at some point arrive back in his homeland. But if not, who cares.
All that really matters is that somebody put a stop to this man with the bad haircut.
League is the most ineffective effective reliever since Bobby Ayala. By ineffective effective, I mean a guy whose numbers suggest he’s not horrible, but whose performances would indicate otherwise.
Every time League enters a close game, I get that jittery feeling I used to only get with Ayala (and Heathcliff Slocumb, on occasion). You just know in those nail-biting situations that League will blow it. He tends to inflate his numbers in games that are already won or lost, making him a hell of a guy to go to in low-pressure situations.
Like some divine gift sent down from the heavens on an otherwise grey and cloudy Seattle morning, Kenji Johjima has decided to opt out of the final two years remaining on his ungodly, ill-advised three-year contract and return home to Japan where he will likely finish his playing career. Release the doves!
By opting out of the deal, the Mariners will be spared on dual accounts.
One, they won’t be forced to release Johjima and sacrifice millions of dollars owed to him.
Two, they won’t have to waste a roster spot on Johjima while he festers on the team’s bench. Between Rob Johnson and Adam Moore, the team was committed to two young catchers and one unproductive veteran. With the vet out of the equation, Johnson and Moore can now compete for the starting backstop role.
This is arguably the biggest move of the offseason, no matter who the M’s sign, no matter who they trade for, no matter what young players they develop. By clearing Johjima’s contract off the books, the team retains $16 million that they were to scheduled to pay the 33-year-old over the next two seasons.