Mike Rizzo wasn’t kidding about Davey Johnson winning a fishing tournament

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When talking to reporters yesterday about why Davey Johnson remains unsigned Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo noted how the manager was keeping himself busy: “I know he was in a fishing tournament. And he won the damn tournament.”

Sarah Kogod of the Washington Post did some digging and found that, sure enough, Johnson recently took part in the Redbone fishing tournament in Islamorada, Florida and “was named celebrity grand champion.”

Florida Sportsman Newswire has the details (and the accompanying photo):

Davey Johnson, manager of the Washington Nationals, released three redfish on artificial and one bonefish on bait to be named celebrity grand champion. A resident of Winter Park, Fla., Johnson fished with Islamorada’s Captain Paul Tejera.

Preceding the silver anniversary event, Johnson and Nicole Ellis, daughter of Redbone founder Gary Ellis, placed a memorial wreath in Florida Keys waters. Nicole Ellis, now 28, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth.

The ceremonial wreath signified remembrance of the late Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, who was instrumental in helping Gary Ellis initiate the light-tackle fishing tournaments. To date, the Redbone series has raised some $18 million for the cause.

Would it be too easy to make a joke about Johnson not handing the fish to Drew Storen because he’ll let it get away? Yes? OK, nevermind then.

Mariners sign Ichiro to a minor league deal

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.

I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.

Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.

Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?