Moore and Johnson

Q.  Are you okay with Adam Moore in 2010?

A.  I am, yes.

1.  He's going to be 26 years old, a college player with another 3.5 years of pro minors time, 1500+ AB's.  He's a guy who hit .300 in AAA last year.   ... He's wellllll along his development arc.

2.  He's got a real quick bat, can wait on the ball, and so has a better chance of defending himself than a big pull hitter with a poor EYE. ... he's the KIND of hitter I'll bet on to transition "acceptably."  The disaster scenario is less likely with him than with a Greg Halman type.

3.  The M's love his D, of course, so his glove will carry his bat if his OPS+ is 70 or so.

4.  He is the golden boy, so a developmental year or two is worth it.  He's a "growing pains" guy.

It's not like you're marrying Michael Saunders here, and whatever he gives you for 150 games you're stuck with.  This is more like marrying Dustin Ackley.

Pending ST, I'm 100% fine with Adam Moore starting on Opening Day. 

The Mariners won't tell him that, of course, and miss out on a fanatical offseason of workouts.


Q.  How about Rob Johnson?  Can he catch 140 games?

A.  Whether his body will take 140 games?  It won't need to.  He can share time.


Q.  Would the M's be okay with Johnson catching, or is he a big pile of brown stuff like many in cyber-Seattle say?

A.  Johnson has pretty well sold himself as a Dan Wilson type.  As far as his defense, here's a piece on it.

Like with NBA defense, catching starts with the feet.  When is the last time you saw a big catcher who was as light on his feet as Rob Johnson?  The guy's more of a threat to triple than the M's middle infielders.  :- )


Offensively, Johnson really started coming on in the second half -- .270/.380/.420 in August -- before his body started unravelling like a K-Mart sweater.

He was making the pitcher throw strikes, and was turning on the ball with authority when they did.  He looked REAL solid after the ASB.  But, as we now know, he was playing with serious injuries as we got into the fall.


I wouldn't be afraid for a second to dis' RJ.  But the fact is, the guy looked legit.   And check the CERA's.


Q.  The M's will need a backup?

A.  Of course, and there are any number of Jamie Burke types.  The M's don't need a starting veteran catcher, IMHO, but they do need a real serious "stoploss" veteran.


Johnson's hip surgeries are scary, of course.  I'm not a doctor; I just play one in Mel Brooks movies.


Q.  But what could the M's expect out of their catchers offensively in 2010?

A.  This year they got a 70-75 OPS+.  Next year they'll get the same, plus $8M.


Q.  Anything else about Joh?

A.  Never understood why cyber-Seattle didn't idolize the guy.  All he ever did was get in here, sit down, shut up, and work his tail off.

And all he did, when he left, was sit down, shut up, thank us for the opportunity, and go home without a peep or a penny.

This is a man who showed us what a pro athlete should be.  And all he ever got was flak, both internally and externally.

Abilitywise, he's the Japanese Jason Varitek, and will probably get at least one more WBC to prove it again.  Here's to you, Joh.  You da man.

Rock on,

Dr D


photo by Otto Greule Jr,



Taro's picture

They'll get two prospects who will likely be worth somewhere around 0-1 WAR together.
The good news is that 600K on the C position and you're developing your young guys while your at it.
Moore+RJ seems just fine to me.

glmuskie's picture

Are what Z needs to put together.  Clearly RJ has some new injury red flags going forward.  Gar-ohn-teed, the M's will need a big league catcher at some point next year not named Moore or Johnson.  They need someone, like Burke, like Borders, who can come up from AAA when needed.  There's a good chance that player will see significant PT.

glmuskie's picture

Let's keep the players that Safeco Fiel kills out of Safeco Field, m'kay?

Taro's picture

While true, C defense is the least impactful by far. I do think CSs and PBs should be included in fangraphs.
In any case the Ms are almost surely to get worse in that category as well being that Johjima's arm and pitch blocking far exceeds any other M's cather.
Realistically we'll probably lose 1-1.5 WAR from that position next year, but the $ gains and development of Moore+RJ are worth it.


Geoff Baker reports that the Mariners are getting good news on Johnson.
At first, with that ARod type hip stuff, I was wondering about 2010 at all, at least first half.  But right now it sounds like he could be catching to some extent in ST.

9 never rush catchers.  Not ever.  It's hard enough for them to play when they're healthy and 100%.
The Mariners will make a move for first guess was Juan Castro.


I noted back when he was hot that August would be telling.  What did Johnson do in August?
.267/.313/.383/.696 - BABIP = .300  BB/K = 4/9
As predicted, his walk totals plunged back to his norm.  But, EVERY other stat more or less repeated what he had done in July.  The .412 OPS he posted in September I'm writing off as attempting to play thru injury, (rookie trying to hold onto a starting job - can anyone blame him for underselling any injuries?)
My take?  Johnson is ALREADY a .700 hitting catcher.  He's only got 290 PAs at this point, so there's still some (limited) upside -- the .730 area I noted previously. 
Everything I've read about his particular health issues to me suggests that they were likely the culprit in his ability to generate bat speed, (which led to a .150 BABIP in September, just fyi).  He actually had a good 4/6 BB/K split in September.  His eye is solid and still developing.  But, he simply couldn't swing the bat through the pain.  I also think the concerns about his health (short term), are overstated.
The state of medical repairs these days are fantastic.  And him being ready to start working out by ST wouldn't be outside of normal rehab.  This type of injury, I'm not finding much info on long term prospects.  The basic texts I've found seem to indicate that Johnson's condition historically has gone untreated in many - and that use of arthoscopic surgery to repair is "relatively" new.  But, scoping is the least invasive (and quickest to heal from) surgery around. 
The big question is whether this is going to be a chronic condition ... because obviously catchers put great stress on their hip muscles.  In all honesty, however, everything suggests that unless there is an underlying genetic condition involved, you're likely looking at the same chance of reinjury that any RB would have after having his knees scoped. 
The biggest block to Johnson HITTING in 2010 is more likely going to be the wrist injury.  Maybe the hip thing prevented him from turning on balls - but I think it more likely the wrist pain caused the September tanking.  And wrist injuries seem to have more erratic return-to-norm results based on my very casual knowledge from previous injured players.

11 seems to me that the injuries that stick longest and become the biggest problem for hitters are chronic back pain, wrist and shoulder injuries.  The back pain because most back injuries are chronic and difficult to exorcise.  The wrist and shoulder injuries are bad because those are the two key pivot points in the swing that help generate bat speed other than the hip turn.  I've seen guys like Damon, Lawton, Ibanez and Sweeney get reduced to noodle-batted arm-swinging punchless wonders by wrist and shoulder injuries.


Your Magic 8 ball has been coming up pretty clean on this RJ guy.
It's hard to imagine a player who finished out the season in more pain than this guy did:  two serious hip injuries, squatting 9 innings a night, a painful elbow, a very painful wrist.  Excuses are excuses, but it's a wonder this guy could square around to bunt...
If they rebuild him, I'm comfortable with a Johnson-Moore duo in 2010.  It's not going to be the best catching in the league, but for the money it will be a nice value.

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