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Larry LaRue breaks the news that the best catcher in franchise history is opting out of his contract and going back to Japan. Sounds like the real deal, too - Zduriencik is holding a press conference in a couple of hours to discuss it.

Thanks for the years of service, Kenji. I'll miss the silly red glove and the powerpitch swing. Good luck in Japan.

Can't talk too much about the impact of all this now but this isn't a big surprise. Dave's been talking about the possibility of Johjima heading home for the past couple of months. This should free up some significant money for next year, but it comes at the cost of more Rob Johnson.

Matthew's Update: According to Shannon Drayer, no other confirmation yet, there is no buyout. The Mariners owe him no money.

Graham's Update: Section changed to great news. Party time!