As you have probably seen, Jeff Clement is going to start the season in Tacoma. This is not good news in any way, shape or form. Clement has demonstrated before that he has nothing further to learn offensively from obliterating pitching at the Triple-A level. And what's worse is that if he does founder in Tacoma, his trade profile suddenly becomes that of a catcher who cannot catch or hit rather than as a prolific offensive prospect with lingering doubts about if he can stay at catcher. In other words, it drops to nil.
Also complicating things is the sheer abundance of top-level catchers we have. Kenji Johjima, Jeff Clement, Rob Johnson, Jamie Burke and Adam Moore all belong somewhere in the state of Washington and that's two more catchers than you want in that situation. Sad to say since he was fun to root for, but Jamie Burke is easily the most expendable out of this five-um.
Something is going to break this dam open soon. Adam Moore posted a 900 OPS in Double-A last season, there's no reason for him to repeat at that level. Johjima isn't going anywhere with that contract, even Rob Johnson put up an impressive 2008 campaign with an 800 OPS in Tacoma, at age 24. Retarding Jeff Clement's progress is possibly retarding both Johnson and Moore as well. They all need playing time, but they also all need to move up a level. Jeff Clement simply has to improve enough to make it back to Seattle and he has to do it quickly or else the priorities of Adam Moore may soon overshadow his.
Moving to the Seattle roster, one thing this does do is clear up any thoughts on who would be the DH. There's now nobody standing behind Griffey needing to get playing time. I pray Balentien gets the DH starts with a lefty on the mound, but now there should be no question that it's Junior's spot against all others. It's one less positional crunch on the big roster for now and that's nice at least.
Furthermore, the abadonment of the idea of the possibility of lineups consisting of Clement at DH and Johjima at C means that there is now zero justification to carry three catchers on the roster meaning that demoting Clement opens up another bench spot, making another decision easier. Still, easier decisions on who to keep and award playing time to are not enough to outweight the negatives of the roster losing some of its ceiling in the short term and that is what Jeff Clement represents. Get better, Jeff. We need you.