Bringing back one of the key figures from the Diamondbacks' championship season,
general manager Josh Byrnes agreed in principle to a deal that will send
left-hander Randy Johnson to Arizona.
The Diamondbacks will ship right-handed reliever Luis Vizcaino, minor league
right-handers Steven Jackson and Ross Ohlendorf and minor league shortstop
Alberto Gonzalez to the Yankees, who reportedly will pay $2 million of Johnson's
$16 million salary in 2007.
The future Hall of Famer returns after two years in the Bronx, where he went
34-19 with a 4.37 ERA. However, in the World Series-or-bust atmosphere that
surrounds the Yankees, he was considered a failure for not helping the team win
Johnson's previous stint with Arizona produced a World Series title in 2001,
when the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in a seven-game series. Johnson and Curt Schilling shared the Series MVP award.
Johnson pitched for the Diamondbacks from 1999-2004, making the All-Star team
five times and winning four of his five Cy Young Awards in that stretch.
The deal was in the works for weeks, as the Diamondbacks wanted to discuss the
$40 million in deferred salary that they still owe Johnson. When the preliminary
deal was announced, they were trying to restructure some of that debt while also
talking to Johnson about a contract extension for 2008.
Vizcaino, 32, went 4-6 with a 3.58 ERA last season. He has eight years of
big-league experience as a middle reliever. Jackson, Ohlendorf and Gonzalez all
spent the majority of last season in Double-A.
Johnson joins an Arizona rotation that includes 2006 Cy Young Award winner
Brandon Webb and workhorses Livan Hernandez and Doug Davis. However, Johnson
might not start the season on time, as he is recovering from surgery in October
to repair a herniated disk in his lower back.