Randy Johnson finally appears headed to New York. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Yankees reached a tentative agreement yesterday on a deal to send the Big Unit to the Bronx for pitchers...

Share story


NEW YORK — Randy Johnson finally appears headed to New York.



The Arizona Diamondbacks and Yankees reached a tentative agreement yesterday on a deal to send the Big Unit to the Bronx for pitchers Javier Vazquez and Brad Halsey, young catcher Dioner Navarro and $9 million, multiple sources said.



The agreement must be put in writing, a process that was about 90 percent complete but will not be finished until today at the earliest and perhaps not until Monday.



While not confirming the substance of the report, Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick confirmed that the teams “are in serious discussions.”



Kendrick also indicated Arizona was working on another deal involving Vazquez. One possible suitor was the Los Angeles Dodgers, who could send outfielder Shawn Green and pitcher Brad Penny to Arizona.



Separate trades, if they include Los Angeles, would in essence reach the same conclusion as the three-team effort that fell apart last week when the Dodgers backed out. Arizona also is talking to other teams. Vazquez has said he prefers to remain on the East Coast.



Kendrick said no deal could be completed or the paperwork even submitted to the commissioner’s office until early next week.



In addition, the Yankees reached a preliminary agreement on a contract with Tino Martinez that would bring the free-agent first baseman back to New York. The one-year deal with Martinez, who took a physical in Tampa, Fla., would guarantee him about $2.7 million and include a club option for 2006.



Both Martinez, 37, and Johnson, 41, are former Mariners.



Even after the Yankees and Diamondbacks finalize their deal, several things must happen before the trade could become complete:



• Because the money was greater than $1 million, commissioner Bud Selig must give his approval, which likely won’t happen until next week.



• All players must pass physicals.



• Johnson has to formally give approval because he has a no-trade clause.



• The Yankees want a 72-hour window to negotiate an extension with Johnson, whose deal expires after the 2005 season.



Johnson, a 10-time All-Star, would join a reshaped rotation that now includes Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright. The Yankees already had Mike Mussina and Kevin Brown, but blew a 3-0 lead in the AL Championship Series and lost to Boston.



The money New York is sending Arizona, which would be paid over several seasons, would offset some of the $34.5 million Vazquez is owed.



Bringing back Martinez would give the Yankees a backup in case Jason Giambi’s physical problems continue.





Notes



• Five-tool free agent Carlos Beltran has a magic number: $119 million. According to baseball sources, agent Scott Boras is saying he will advise interested teams to start their bidding at that number if they intend to be serious players for the center fielder.



• Searching for the final piece to a revamped middle infield, the St. Louis Cardinals are working on a deal with switch-hitting second baseman Roberto Alomar. He turns 37 in February and played in just 56 games last year because of a broken right hand after being hit by a pitch.



Ken Burkhart, a former big-league pitcher and umpire who made a memorable disputed call in the 1970 World Series, died Wednesday in Knoxville, Tenn. He was 89.