If Randy Johnson lands anywhere this offseason, it is more and more likely that it will be right back home with the Diamondbacks.
As the D-Backs continued negotiations with the New York Yankees during the long holiday weekend, “there is a deal to be made,” a baseball source with knowledge of the talks said Saturday.
Johnson also has been linked to San Diego in trade talks, but the Padres do not appear to be a serious player after spending $10 million on Greg Maddux.
The biggest impediment in a deal with the D-Backs appears to be the players the Yankees will receive for Johnson, a certain Hall of Famer with 280 career victories and 4,544 strikeouts, third in major league history.
The Yankees could agree to take only two pitchers, the baseball source said, and are believed to be seeking a pair from among reliever Brandon Medders and starters Dustin Nippert, Ross Ohlendorf and Micah Owings.
Johnson has a full notrade clause and must OK any trade, but it is believed he would be amenable, especially if the D-Backs restructure payments of the $40 million in deferred compensation to speed up dispersal. Johnson’s deferments are believed to go through 2012.
Johnson has $16 million remaining on the final year of his contract, but the D-Backs would add like to add a year to the deal.
The D-Backs will ask for a 72-hour negotiating window once the players are agreed upon, although no movement is expected to happen until Johnson returns from a family vacation.
Medders and Nippert have spent time in the major leagues in each of the last two seasons, while all three starters are candidates for the final two spots in the D-Backs’ 2007 rotation.
Owings, who was 16-2 at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Tucson in ’06, is slightly more advanced than Ohlendorf, but scouts project both as major league starters.
SHORT HOPS: The D-Backs have signed outfielder Dee Brown, righthander D.J. Carrasco and shortstop Ronnie Merrill Jr. as minor league free agents. Brown, a former No. 1 draft pick by Kansas City in 1996, hit .288 with 16 home runs and 80 RBIs in the Royals’ organization in 2006, with 95 of his 111 games at Double-A Wichita. Carrasco, a native of Safford, played with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League last season.