The Diamondbacks all along insisted they would not give up ace Randy Johnson without getting at least two established major leaguers in return.
After six months of on-again, off-again negotiations with the New York Yankees — Johnson's desired destination — and other teams, the D-Backs finally worked out a pair of trades that, to them, achieved the goal of improving the team while satisfying Johnson.
Then, Thursday, they could not close the deal.
While the Johnson trade is close to finalized, the window for negotiation with Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green closed at 10 a.m. Thursday with Arizona unable to work out a contract extension with Green. The Diamondbacks did not want Green without a new contract (he makes $16 million this year, the final in his current deal), and apparently Green and his agent had the same prerequisite for waiving his no-trade clause.
So that trade is dead.
Or is it? Perhaps, like in the classic Monty Python dead-parrot skit, it's “resting.”
One major league official said Green and Arizona wound up just $2 million apart, with the team offering $30 million over three years (2005-07) and the player seeking $32 million.
Diamondbacks officials, working late at Bank One Ballpark, declined comment through a team spokesman. Green's agent, Greg Genske, did not return calls.
Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta held a conference call with his team's beat writers.
“It certainly ends it in its present form,” DePodesta said.
“As it stands right now, it's over. . . . We kicked around some ideas. Obviously I have spoken with them a couple of different times today to sort of see where they were and try to figure out where stopping points were. I do not know if something like that is going to happen or not.”
Johnson's agents have reportedly worked out a two-year, $32 million extension with the Yankees, as expected. Thus only physicals stand in the way of New York's sending right-hander Javier Vazquez, lefty Brad Halsey, catcher Dioner Navarro and $9 million to Arizona in return.
According to The Associated Press, physicals for Johnson and Vazquez could be scheduled for Monday. Halsey was believed to have taken his physical Thursday.
Navarro, along with minor league pitcher William Juarez, was to go to Los Angeles for Green and $8 million.
The commissioner's office usually grants a negotiating window of 72 hours — as it did for Johnson and the Yankees — but the Dodgers requested only 48 for Green with the D-Backs.
“We felt if something was to get done,” DePodesta said, “it would get done within 48 hours, instead of 72. We did not feel another 24 hours was going to help.”
But 48 hours was not enough, despite the fact that Arizona CEO-elect Jeff Moorad once was Green's agent and Genske was a Moorad associate who now runs Moorad's former firm.
The Dodgers could make a new effort to acquire Navarro, for whom the Diamondbacks have no need.
Without Green, the team's first choice is probably to pursue free agent Jeromy Burnitz to play right field. (Howard Simon, Burnitz's agent, said he spoke with D-Backs general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. on Thursday morning to “touch base,” but no negotiations took place.)
Another option would be to play Shea Hillenbrand at first base and put Chad Tracy in the outfield.
With the Green trade off, Arizona will not go through with a tentative deal that sends Hillenbrand to Toronto for relief prospect Adam Peterson.