Underscoring their desire to unload Shawn Green’s $16 million salary and free up money to pursue starting pitching, the Dodgers are believed to have agreed in principle on a second trade that potentially would send Green to Arizona in the event the first trade falls through.
The first trade, which would send Green to the Diamondbacks for catching prospect Dioner Navarro after Arizona acquires Navarro from the New York Yankees, reportedly will be submitted sometime today to commissioner Bud Selig. Also expected to be submitted today is the Diamondbacks’ trade of five-time Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson to the Yankees for Navarro, pitchers Javier Vazquez and Matt Halsey and about $9 million in cash.
The Diamondbacks reportedly have decided that if the Johnson trade gets done, they will keep Halsey. A source with knowledge of the trade talks, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Navarro is the only player in whom the Dodgers are truly interested.
If the Johnson trade falls through and the Diamondbacks don’t get Navarro, the Dodgers apparently will trade Green to Arizona anyway — assuming the Diamondbacks can reach agreement with Green on a new contract that would give him security beyond next season in exchange for reducing his burdensome 2005 salary.
In that case, it is unclear which players the Dodgers would get in exchange for Green, although their need to upgrade their starting rotation — and find some money with which to do it — is profound enough that they are willing to dump Green for a modest return.
Derek Lowe, formerly of Boston, is the top free-agent pitcher available, a fact that has dramatically inflated Lowe’s price, probably to the point the Dodgers can’t afford him.
That could change if the Dodgers ship Green to Arizona. The proposed trade also includes $8 million going from the Dodgers to the Diamondbacks to cover half of Green’s salary, but it still would free up at least $8 million.
It could free up more if the Diamondbacks don’t have Navarro to deal, which probably would decrease the amount of money going with Green to Arizona because the Dodgers wouldn’t be getting the player they covet.
Dodgers officials are extremely high on Navarro, the Yankees’ top catching prospect, who conceivably could fill the Dodgers’ need for an everyday catcher sometime next season. The Dodgers are expected to open the season with Brent Mayne and David Ross, a pair that combined to hit .176 for them last season, sharing time behind the plate. While Navarro isn’t an especially gifted hitter either, he is projected to develop into a defensive star.