|Rob Johnson corrals a foul pop against the Devil Rays. Here's hoping he locates the rest of his game with the Padres.|
I always had hopes for Johnson. He seemed to slowly adjust to hitting at each level of the minors, but demonstrated the skills needed to be a good catcher. When he arrived at the major league level, pitchers clearly liked throwing to him over Kenji Johjima. He earned their confidence and there was every reason to hope that Johnson would develop in the Mariners starting catcher, or at least an adequate placeholder and eventual backup to Adam Moore.
Last year, however, after multiple surgeries, he clearly did not have the physical ability to block pitches in the dirt, or prevent passed balls. His hitting was execrable with a line of .191/.293/.291, an OPS+ of 63. Calling a good game just isn't enough and the M's sent him down to Tacoma in August.
Catching is simply a wasteland for the Mariners, as I've stated before. One worries about their ability to take catching prospects and develop them properly. Jeff Clement, Johnson, and Moore have all been hailed as Mariners catchers of the future, but they went outside the organization to sign Miguel Olivo to be the M's starter for 2011-12. I still have hopes for Moore, but it should be a concern for the organization.
Ryan Divish has some useful Johnson insights in the News Tribune. I wish Johnson well with the Padres.