Kenji strikes it rich(er) in Japan

Is Kenji Johjima a wise man, or what?

The former Mariners catcher has landed a four-year, $21 million contract with the Hanshin Tigers, which sure takes the sting out of forfeiting the $15.8 million remaining on the three-year, $24 million contract extension he signed on April 25, 2008.

There was no mention out of Japan whether or not Johjima has been guaranteed the full-time job as the Tigers catcher, but for $21 million (or 1,905,145,114.13 yen), you can be sure he’ll be playing a lot.

By the way, Johjima was “concerned” last week when it was written that one of the major reasons he left the Mariners was because of the decreased amount of playing time he had received the past two seasons, which was caused by two things — injuries and eroding skills.

But he wanted to make it clear, without a shadow of a doubt, that he has nothing personal against the organization and never complained about the reduced amount of playing time he received.

All that is true.

It’s also true that the Mariners gave him a chance to become the first Japan-born catcher to play in the Major Leagues and his place in history is forever etched in stone. Now, he can return to his homeland, be close to family and friends and live happily ever-after.

Good luck to him.

— Jim Street

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