Giants Ink Big Unit to One-Year Deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Adding one of the greatest pitchers in major league history, the San Francisco Giants have signed free agent left-hander Randy Johnson to a one-year contract, announced club Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Sabean . Per club policy, financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

The 45-year-old Randy Johnson comes to San Francisco with clear-cut Hall of Fame credentials, as he is a five-time Cy Young Award winner and 10-time All-Star. His five Cy Young Awards are the second-highest total in major league history behind Roger Clemens (7) and he is one of only two pitchers to have won the award in four straight seasons, accomplishing the feat from 1999-2002 while pitching for Arizona.

The Walnut Creek, CA native has amassed 4,789 strikeouts during his career, the second most in major league history and the most among all southpaws. Johnson is currently just five victories shy of reaching the 300-win plateau to become the 24th pitcher in major league history to reach 300 career wins. His 295 career victories currently rank sixth among left-handed hurlers.

"We are extremely excited to bring Randy Johnson to the Giants organization," announced Sabean. "Randy continues to be one of the most intimidating and competitive pitchers in baseball today. He commands respect and will have a dramatic influence on the way the 2009 team conducts business."

Because the Diamondbacks failed to offer salary arbitration to the Big Unit, the Giants were able to sign this type-A free agent without having to relinquish their second-round draft pick.  The D-backs will not receive any extra draft picks as compensation for the loss of Johnson. 

The 21-year major league veteran owns a 295-160 record with a 3.26 ERA, 100 complete games and 37 shutouts in 596 games (586 starts) with the Expos (1988-89), Mariners (1989-1998), Astros (1998), D-backs (1999-2004, 2007-08) and Yankees (2005-06). Selected by Montreal in the second round of the 1985 draft, Johnson has led the league in strikeouts nine times and in ERA on four occasions. He has tossed a pair of no-hitters, including the 15th perfect game in modern day regular season history May 18, 2004 at Atlanta.

Adding Johnson to the Giants rotation now gives the club three Cy Young Award winners, including last season's winner Tim Lincecum and 2002 AL winner Barry Zito. The last team to have three Cy Young winners on the same roster was the 2002 Atlanta Braves with Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz.

The 6-foot-10, 225-pound Johnson spent all of last season with Arizona, posting an 11-10 record and a 3.91 ERA in 30 starts. He ranked third among National League pitchers with a 3.93 strikeout to walk ratio and sixth with 8.46 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. His 2.41 ERA following the All-Star Break ranked fifth among NL hurlers.

Johnson has tossed over 200.0 innings and has won at least 16 games in 10 of his last 14 seasons. He has excelled against NL West opponents, going 50-27 with a 2.68 ERA in 104 games (102 starts) and has forged a 3-2 mark with a 2.14 figure in seven career contests at AT&T Park.

A veteran of postseason play, Johnson has gone 7-9 with a 3.50 ERA in 19 postseason games (16 starts) while playing in eight Division Series (1995, 1997, 1998-99, 2001-02, 2005-06), two League Championship Series (1995, 2001) and one World Series (2001). He was named Co-MVP of the 2001 World Series along with Arizona teammate Curt Schilling, as the duo combined to go 9-1 with a 1.30 ERA in 12 outings.

Johnson graduated from Livermore (CA) High School in 1982. There, he tossed a perfect game in his final prep start. He was originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the third round of the 1982 draft, but chose to attend USC.


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