The Randy Johnson-to-the-Yankees talk has heated up to the point that a blockbuster, multiteam trade involving the Dodgers' Shawn Green, the Big Unit and New York right-hander...
NEW YORK The Randy Johnson-to-the-Yankees talk has heated up to the point that a blockbuster, multiteam trade involving the Dodgers’ Shawn Green, the Big Unit and New York right-hander Javier Vazquez is under serious discussion.
Sources said that while the deal is complex, there appears to be a feeling of urgency from all the clubs to get it completed within the next day or so.
Several variations on the deal, including the possibility that a fourth team possibly the St. Louis Cardinals will be involved are being considered.
In lieu of the Yankees throwing cash into the deal, as was first discussed in their one-on-one talks with the Diamondbacks, they would instead include two of their top prospects third baseman Eric Duncan and catcher Dioner Navarro, who would go to the Dodgers, along with Vazquez.
However, a source said last night that these talks gained momentum before the Dodgers’ free-agent third baseman, Adrian Beltre, agreed to a five-year, $64 million deal with the Mariners.
“That could very well take the Dodgers out of this thing and it could wind up going back to being just the Yankees and the Diamondbacks,” the source said.
In those initial talks, the Dodgers would potentially send Green, pitcher Brad Penny, reliever Yhency Brazoban and another player to Arizona. Johnson and a prospect would wind up with the Yankees.
“All those players have been discussed,” said a baseball official familiar with the negotiations. “But it’s still all very fluid at the moment.
“There’s a whole lot of music right now, but I think it won’t be long before there’s a symphony,” said another source. “There’s too many reasons why all these teams want to do this.”
For the Yankees and Diamondbacks, the reasons are simple: The Yankees crave a front-line ace and Arizona has been trying to jettison an unhappy Johnson, who will earn $16 million this season, since last year. Since the Yanks are the only team willing to put enough money into a trade for Johnson as well as give the 41-year-old pitcher an extension of about $16 million, they’re the only team for which the Big Unit is willing to waive his no-trade clause.
The Diamondbacks also have known from the beginning of the discussions with the Yankees that Vazquez would demand a trade if he was shipped to Arizona. He fired incoming Diamondbacks CEO Jeff Moorad as his agent a few years ago. As a player in the middle of a multiyear deal, Vazquez would have the right to force a trade after one season.
Conversely, Green likely would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to Arizona since Moorad was his agent before leaving that business to become a Diamondbacks executive.
There is more urgency for the Yankees and D-backs to complete a deal now, too, since the Yankees had been in on trade talks for A’s ace Tim Hudson (as had L.A.), but he was shipped to the Braves yesterday for a package of three minor-leaguers, including Atlanta’s top pitching prospect, Dan Meyer.
Arizona also appears to be in a tighter time crunch because owner Ken Kendrick reportedly said the team wants a resolution on Johnson before the end of the year he’ll be dealt by then or he’ll finish out his contract with the D-backs.
While engaged in talks for this deal, it’s believed the Dodgers have stepped up discussions to land free-agent first baseman Carlos Delgado, which would help offset the power loss of Beltre and possibly Green.
The Yankees and D-backs have been dancing around a deal for Johnson since last season, when the teams tried to make a trade before the July 31 deadline but couldn’t reach agreement.
Talks broke down again at the beginning of this month after the Yankees balked at Arizona’s request for Vazquez, Tom Gordon, several prospects and cash.
Yanks GM Brian Cashman spent almost no time on trying to land Johnson at the winter meetings, instead bringing in pitchers Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright.
But Moorad called Yankees president Randy Levine twice in the past week to revive discussions, and now it appears those talks have reached a new level.