Finally, Randy Johnson is close to becoming a Yankee. The Yankees yesterday reached agreement on the players in a three-team blockbuster that would land the coveted lefthander, Newsday learned last night.
A few minor details have yet to be worked out to finalize the deal, but indications are they are not big enough obstacles to kill it.
The Yankees are to receive the 6-10 Johnson, a five-time Cy Young Award winner and the pitcher they’ve sought since the middle of last summer, and surrender pitcher Javier Vazquez and two minor-leaguers. The deal, if completed as expected, should re-establish the Yankees as the World Series favorite next season. In the meantime, news of the tentative agreement trumped the Mets’ biggest free-agent signing ever, the $53-million deal for Pedro Martinez.
According to a Diamondbacks source, the Dodgers will receive Vazquez, catcher Dioner Navarro and third baseman Eric Duncan. Los Angeles will send outfielder/first baseman Shawn Green, pitcher Brad Penny and reliever Yhency Brazoban to Arizona.
The trade will not be announced until all hurdles are cleared.
Johnson and Green both have no-trade clauses, meaning they can veto trades, so their approval has to be received before the deal is finalized. Johnson has been requesting a trade to the Yankees for months, so he almost surely will give his OK. And Green’s former agent is Jeff Moorad, who now runs the Diamondbacks, so there’s a great likelihood he also will approve the deal.
The other minor issues involve several perks in Johnson’s contract, including tickets to Phoenix Suns and Diamondbacks games that need to be accounted for by the Yankees, plus physicals for the players involved.
If nothing else, this should put a stop to any further talk of Piazza for Green. And at least the Yankees are getting older. I’m impressed that Arizona got so much back in this deal — not nearly as certain, however, where LA’s offensive production will come from next year when they’ve lost Shawn Green and Adrian Beltre in the same day. But enough of this hype-fest, Fred Hickman just made his ESPN debut — how will the YES Network get along without him?