Sports Outside the Beltway

Randy Johnson back to the D-Backs?

By Amy K. Nelson
ESPN The Magazine

In the past week the Arizona Diamondbacks have offered a package of players to the New York Yankees in exchange for Randy Johnson, a baseball official said.

In need of starting pitching — and a marquee name that will draw more fans — the Diamondbacks have offered a package of at least three players, including a major-leaguer. They would also want a 72-hour window to negotiate an extension with Johnson, who is owed $16 million in the final year of his contract. The Yankees, according to the official, don’t want to pick up any of Johnson’s salary.

Johnson, 43, spent six seasons with Arizona and won four Cy Young Awards before being traded to New York in January 2005. At the time, Arizona was looking to shed payroll and bring in more youth.

Johnson had a full no-trade clause back then, as he does now. And it’s believed that if the Yankees were to move him, Johnson would prefer to be closer to his Arizona home.

According to Johnson’s agent, Alan Nero, the left-hander has not requested a trade.

“Randy would listen if the Yankees brought something to him,” Nero said. “But that has not happened. I don’t know what they’re doing. It’s still speculation as far as we’re concerned.”

The official said the San Diego Padres are also involved in trade discussions. It’s believed that right-handed reliever Scott Linebrink could be the centerpiece of a deal.

If he returns to Arizona, Johnson, with 280 career wins, could get No. 300 as a Diamondback. If he goes to San Diego, he’d join 333-game winner Greg Maddux in the rotation. That is, if he stays healthy. Johnson had back surgery this offseason and it’s unknown whether he’ll be ready for Opening Day.

Amy K. Nelson is a writer/reporter for ESPN The Magazine.

Not so sure this will work out. If the Yanks don’t pick up any of Johnson’s salary I don’t see the D-Backs paying Johnson that much, he would have to take a pay cut. This is not a very good move by Arizona unless they can restructure his contract and give up low-ceiling prospects. If that works than I think it’s a good move by both teams.

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