Johjima Flies Home
Scratch the Mets off of the list in the bidding for catcher, Kenji Johjima. Agent, Alan Nero canceled his meeting with Mets’ general manager, Omar Minaya. He and Kenji flew back to Japan and are supposed to decide by Tuesday whether to sign with the Seattle Mariners or re-sign with his Japanese club, the Fukuoka Soft-Bank Hawks. The Seattle Times reports that the Mariners have upped their offer to $6 million a year for two years guaranteed with a club option for a third year. The Hawks have offered him a one year deal for $10 million. Because the Hawks’ deal is just for one year, there is a strong possibility Johjima will return to Japan and try his hand at the Majors again next off-season.
Texas Seeking Hometown Ace
According to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, the Texas Rangers are discussing a deal with the salary slashing Florida Marlins that would net them homtown pitcher, Josh Beckett and third baseman, Mike Lowell for their starting third baseman, Hank Blalock and one of their top pitching prospects, 2003 first-round draft pick, lefty John Danks or 2004 first-round draft pick, righty Thomas Diamond. Both pitchers ended last season pitching for the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate, the Frisco RoughRiders. This rumor might have short legs unless the Marlins are willing to accept a lesser pitching prospect or assume a larger portion of Lowell’s hefty contract. Lowell is owed $18 million over the next two seasons.
Marlon In Washington
The Washington Nationals have signed Mets’ pinch-hitter extraordinaire, Marlon Anderson to a two year deal. With Jose Vidro’s health a major question mark, the Nationals are loading up on speedy, low-priced second basemen. Earlier in the off-season they signed road runners, Damian jackson (Padres) and Bernie Castro (Orioles). Whether general manager, Jim Bowden stays in Washington or not, he continues to find the cream of the Class C free agent crop. Watch out for Castro, he is one of the fastest guys in baseball.