Mariners deal catcher Rob Johnson to San Diego
Rob Johnson dealt by the Mariners to the San Diego Padres for either future considerations or cash.
Seattle Times staff reporter; Seattle Times staff reporter
Players rarely express relief at being traded from the team they've spent their entire professional career with.
But Rob Johnson was exhaling with vigor and brimming with excitement on Tuesday after being dealt by the Mariners to the San Diego Padres for either future considerations or cash. His catching career in Seattle was clearly done.
Johnson had been designated for assignment last week, meaning he would have been outrighted to Class AAA as a non-roster player if nobody traded for him or claimed him off waivers by Wednesday.
Now, he'll have a chance to continue his big league career.
"I'm excited to be starting this new chapter in my baseball life," Johnson said from his Arizona home.
The old chapter pretty much ended when the Mariners reached a two-year, $7 million deal with catcher Miguel Olivo just as the winter meetings wrapped up.
That move is expected to be made official in coming days.
Olivo's arrival bumps catcher Adam Moore to a backup role and made Johnson somewhat redundant.
Johnson struggled last season, hitting just .191 with a .574 on-base-plus slugging percentage in 61 games with Seattle. He also allowed nine passed balls and failed to keep several wild pitches in front of him.
"Baseball is a game where you're expected to perform," Johnson said. "I needed to put up numbers and perform well and I didn't. Baseball is a performance job and I didn't perform well. I didn't have the year I expected myself to have and they expected me to have."
Johnson was coming off double hip surgery last season and was a question mark all the way through spring training. This winter, he has worked out hard with Mariners minor-eague trainer James Clifford in Arizona to improve his strength and flexibility, while embarking on a low-carb eating regimen that's given him added energy.
"I feel as good as I've felt in four years," he said. "It's as strong as I've ever felt. The most flexible, too."
It was just a matter of knowing he'd get another major-league chance. Now, he won't have to move and will even stay at the same spring training complex since the Mariners and Padres share theirs.
"I wanted to believe I would get traded, or picked up on waivers," he said. "But you start getting nervous. Now that I'm going someplace new, I'm happy and I'm excited. It's a chance to start fresh."
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.