Randy Johnson said Friday he has no specific list of teams to which he would approve a trade from the Diamondbacks and that he is not considering the issue until Arizona comes to him about his no-trade clause.
On the other hand, Barry Meister, one of Johnson’s agents, said Friday, "It is a complete waste of time (for the D-Backs) to entertain multiple trade offers or proposals for Randy Johnson because we have not been approached on it formally."
This much can be agreed upon: Johnson is unhappy and frustrated playing for a lastplace team; he has agreed to waive his no-trade clause to go to a contender; and that team must have a strong chance at the World Series, not a "theoretical" one, as he put it earlier this week.
No one has denied that the New York Yankees most fit that description.
Arizona general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. would say only that in a general sense he is talking to many teams and has scouts looking at other organizations as the trade deadline approaches (two weeks from today).
According to multiple reports, the D-Backs have been surveying other teams for interest in Johnson.
In contrast to Meister’s assessment of how the Diamondbacks’ time is best spent, Arizona’s policy regarding players with a no-trade clause has been to agree to a deal with another team before approaching the player for approval. There seems no reason that would change in this case, and Johnson indicated that is how he expects events to unfold.
In sum, three conditions have to be met for a trade to take place:
• A team must be able to take on Johnson’s contract (the pro-rated portion of $16 million this season plus $16 million more next year);
• That team must be willing to send the D-Backs young, inexpensive and close-to-the-majors players that fit their needs, primarily pitcher and catcher (simply relieving Arizona of Johnson’s salary will not be enough);
• And Johnson must approve a move to that team.
Because the Yankees’ farm system is generally considered weak and they cannot spare any front-line players, it may be difficult to satisfy all three prerequisites.
"If the deal doesn’t work for me and the deal doesn’t work for (Arizona)," Johnson said, "then I don’t know."
Johnson also insisted no parallels should be drawn between this season and 1998, when he was unhappy with Seattle’s refusal to extend his contract and was eventually traded to Houston.
Johnson said his July 9 altercation with left fielder Luis Gonzalez after Gonzalez dropped a fly ball was an expression of Johnson’s desire to win and that his 1998 clubhouse dispute with then-teammate David Segui was Segui’s fault for being rude.
Meister contacted the Tribune on Friday to say that the only people who can accurately express Johnson’s stance or thoughts are Johnson and himself. Meister claimed any reports citing any other source (specifically mentioning Alan Nero, Johnson’s other agent) are baseless.
One Diamondbacks player who could be traded this month is center fielder Steve Finley. Of the players on the roster other than Johnson who are considered available, Finley has drawn the most interest. But he too has no-trade protection and has not indicated where he might be willing to go.