Mariners Rumors: Johjima, Washburn, Ibanez

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has all sorts of good Mariners info today.

  • Kenji Johjima‘s three-year, $24MM extension was mandated by Japanese ownership.  Johjima has an opt-out clause after the ’09 season, but only in the event of a serious family issue.  The extension looks like a sunk cost for Seattle before it even begins.
  • Backup catcher Jamie Burke is a free agent after the season.  He would like to return but needs to discuss playing time with the Ms.
  • The Mariners’ direction remains unclear – is 2009 a rebuilding year?  If so, why didn’t they swap Jarrod Washburn and his contract for a young Twins pitcher? Even if ’09 isn’t a rebuilding year that would’ve made sense.
  • The Mariners still have interest in re-signing Raul Ibanez.  He may prefer to sign with a contender, leaving the Mariners with even less power.
  • Baker believes that with Erik Bedard‘s injury (and possible non-tender), the team should focus on contending around 2011.  After the ’11 season, Felix Hernandez will reach free agency.

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