The second coming of Randy Johnson is only days away. Johnson and the Diamondbacks have reached an agreement on the financial language on Johnson’s new two-year contract with the D-Backs, sources with direct knowledge of the talks said Saturday, effectively cementing his reacquisition from the New York Yankees in a five-player deal.
“We made as much progress as we needed to make,” the source said.
The only holdup now would be any red flags that arise in a physical exam that Johnson will receive at some point after the close of the 72-hour negotiating window at 3 p.m. Sunday, but sources do not expect that to be an issue, even after Johnson’s October surgery on a herniated disk in his back.
A press conference could be held as early as Tuesday.
The D-Backs agreed to send reliever Luis Vizcaino and minor leaguers Ross Ohlendorf, Steven Jackson and Alberto Gonzalez to the Yankees for Johnson and $2 million on Friday, opening the negotiating window.
The financial work was complicated by the fact that the Yankees had agreed to pay $9 million of the $16 million Johnson was due when he was traded to the Yankees in the Javier Vazquez deal after the 2004 season.
The D-Backs have agreed to take on all $16 million of the money Johnson is due through 2007, sources said, although it is not known how much of the money will be paid this season and what amount, if any, will be included in his 2008 salary.
The new deal does not include any reworking of the $40 million that Johnson is due in deferred compensation from his previous six seasons (1999-2004) with the D-Backs. The deferments run through 2012.
The D-Backs have said they have about $10 million to spend if they are to stay within their $60 million-$65 million budget this year.
The organization’s internal plan is to increase the budget to between $65 million and $70 million in 2008, which is when Livan Hernandez’s $7 million contract will expire.
Johnson was 17-11 with a 5.00 ERA, the worst ERA in his 18 full major league seasons, while winning 34 games in his two years in New York.
He won more games than Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Jason Schmidt, Dontrelle Willis, Carlos Zambrano and Barry Zito over the past two seasons.
Johnson will join a starting rotation that includes protégé Brandon Webb, Hernandez and newcomer Doug Davis.
It has yet to be determined if Johnson will regain the No. 1 spot in the rotation – he made every opening day start in his six seasons here – or be behind Webb, the current NL Cy Young holder.
The Yankees had said they were uncertain if Johnson would be ready for the start of the regular season after his surgery. Some believed they were being overly cautious.
SHORT HOP: Mike Swanson, the Diamondbacks’ senior director of public relations, has left the organization to join the Kansas City Royals.
Swanson, an original D-Back who joined the franchise before its 1998 inaugural season, has been named the vice president of communications and broadcasting in Kansas City, his hometown.
Swanson, who has spent 28 seasons in major league baseball, won the prestigious Robert O. Fishel award for public relations excellence in 2002.