The New York Yankees are seeking a package of three young pitchers from the Diamondbacks for Randy Johnson, including at least one reliever, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.
The Yankees have expressed interest in right-handed setup man Brandon Medders, the source said, in addition to several of the five starting pitchers the D-Backs consider candidates for the two available spots in their 2007 rotation — Edgar Gonzalez, Enrique Gonzalez, Dustin Nippert, Ross Ohlendorf and Micah Owings.
The D-Backs, looking to retain as much young pitching as possible as they build for the future, have balked at the Yankees’ asking price, although it appears they would consider substituting veteran reliever Luis Vizcaino for Medders.
San Diego and San Francisco are also interested in Johnson, the source said.
If the Yankees trade Johnson, who would have to OK any deal since he has a no-trade clause, the D-Backs expect it to happen soon, so as to give New York an opportunity to make a run at free agent left-hander Barry Zito.
The D-Backs have refused to move Medders before. Atlanta requested him in the Johnny Estrada trade at the 2005 winter meetings before agreeing to accept Oscar Villarreal along with Lance Cormier.
Medders, 26, was 5-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 60 games with the D-Backs last season despite missing the first two weeks with a back injury.
He is under the team’s control for the next four years.
Vizcaino, 32, was 4-6 with a 3.58 ERA in his first season with the D-Backs last year and is eligible for arbitration after 2007.
Johnson, who is to make $16 million this season, has expressed a desire to play closer to home, although agent Alan Nero did not characterize it as a demand.
The D-Backs have some concerns about Johnson’s recent back surgery but also note that he won 34 games in his two seasons with the Yankees.