Randy Johnson is almost home. The Diamondbacks have agreed to send reliever Luis Vizcaino and minor league prospects Ross Ohlendorf, Steven Jackson and Alberto Gonzalez to the New York Yankees for Johnson and cash considerations, according to sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations.
Because of the extent of the talent involved, the Yankees also agreed to send $2 million along with Johnson, sources said.
With the players finally settled, the D-Backs entered a 72-hour window on Thursday afternoon in which to negotiate a two-year deal with Johnson, who is owed $16 million (with $1.5 million deferred) in 2007 and has a full no-trade clause.
Since the Yankees also used an intermediary on the subject of money as the process went along, it is believed the most difficult part of the exchange process is over.
The D-Backs will hold a conference call today with Johnson’s agents, Barry Meister and Alan Nero.
“I hope we can reach some accommodation so Randy can waive his no-trade clause. I don’t ever speculate, but I’m hopeful we’re going to have some productive talks,” Meister said.
The D-Backs plan to lay low until a deal is finalized. General manager Josh Byrnes said in a statement: “We will respectfully decline to make any comment during the negotiating window until we have news to announce.”
Johnson, who makes his home in the Valley, won four Cy Young Awards in his six years with the D-Backs from 1999-2004 and won 34 games in his two seasons with the Yankees.
He was 17-11 with a 5.00 ERA last year, after which he had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back, which may have had something to do with his career-high ERA.
Johnson was 103-49 in six seasons with the D-Backs, winning the Cy Young in each of his first four years, and earned a World Series ring in 2001, winning Games 2, 6 and 7 against the Yankees.
He would join current NL Cy Young winner Brandon Webb, Livan Hernandez and Doug Davis at the top of Arizona’s rotation.
The D-Backs have said they need a two-year deal in order to fit his salary into their budget.
They have about $10 million left to spend this season, when their payroll is expected to fall between $60 million and $65 million, but will have more room next season, when the contracts of Livan Hernandez ($7 million) and Shawn Green expire and their payroll is expected to increase to $65 million to $70 million.
The D-Backs are paying $4.75 million of Green’s 2007 salary — and counting it against this year’s budget — despite trading him to the Mets last August.
If the money is settled, Johnson must pass a physical this weekend or early next week.
The Yankees originally asked about including reliever Brandon Medders before taking Vizcaino, who was 4-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 70 games last season, his first with the D-Backs.
Ohlendorf, a fourth-round draft pick out of Princeton in 2004, used a hard sinking fastball to go 10-8 with a 3.29 ERA at Double-A Tennessee before being promoted to Triple-A Tucson, where he gave up one run in five innings in his only start.
Gonzalez, 24, is considered a superior defender at shortstop whose road to the major leagues was blocked by Stephen Drew, Albert Callaspo and even Justin Upton, if Upton is returned to shortstop.
Gonzalez hit .290 with six homers and 50 RBIs at Tennessee last season.
Micah Owings and Dustin Nippert, whose names also were mentioned in trade talks, will be candidates for the No. 5 spot in the D-Backs’ rotation, along with Enrique Gonzalez, Edgar Gonzalez, Dana Eveland and Juan Cruz.
The Diamondbacks and the Yankees have agreed to a trade that would return pitcher Randy Johnson to the Valley, where his family lives.
The Diamondbacks get:
- Randy Johnson, left-handed starter, 17-11 with a 5.00 ERA.
- $2 million
The Yankees get:
- Luis Vizcaino, relief pitcher, 4-6 with a 3.58 ERA with the D-Backs last season.
- Ross Ohlendorf, starting pitcher, 2002 fourth-round pick out of Princeton. The right-hander was 10-8 with a 3.29 ERA for Double-A Tennessee last season.
- Steven Jackson, starting pitcher. Right-hander was 8-11 with a 2.71 ERA for Double-A Tennessee last season.
- Alberto Gonzalez, shortstop. Hit .288 with six homers and 50 RBIs with Tennessee last season.