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Yankees close to acquiring Big Unit

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Randy John$on

12/1/2004

ESPN reports that the Arizona Diamondbacks are ready to finally trade veteran pitcher Randy Johnson to the New York Yankees.

A team source tells ESPN's Peter Gammons that a deal could happen sometime next week and that the Yankees are set to offer starter Javier Vazquez, reliever Tom Gordon, third base prospect Eric Duncan and about $4 million of Vazquez's contract.

The Diamondbacks also reportedly want the Yankees to acquire a starting pitcher outside of the organization to include in a deal.

The news comes on the same day that reports emerged out of Boston that the Red Sox were discussing a trade sending pitcher Bronson Arroyo and two prospects to Arizona for Johnson.

Vazquez, 28, has three years and $34.5 million left on his contract, while Johnson, 41, will make $16 million this coming season.

The Diamondbacks have been listening to offers for the Big Unit since the middle of the 2004 season. The Yankees head the list of teams with interest, but the Red Sox, Anaheim Angels and Chicago White Sox have also been touted as possibilities. Johnson has the right to veto any trade.

Coming off knee surgery, Johnson was 16-14, but the team scored three or fewer runs for him in all but one of those losses. He was 13-2 when the Diamondbacks scored more than two runs. Johnson was second in the majors with a 2.60 ERA and led the majors in strikeouts at 290. Along the way, he pitched a perfect game, passed 4,000 strikeouts and passed Steve Carlton to become the most prolific left-handed strikeout pitcher in baseball history. He ranks No. 3 on the strikeout list behind Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens.

Johnson won Cy Young Awards in his first four seasons with Arizona and was second to Clemens in Cy Young voting this year, even though Johnson was on a club that lost 111 games, tied for 10th-most in baseball history.

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Wow, that's a really, really dumb move.

Yankees need pitching, so go ahead and throw away a great reliever and a decent starter for the FOURTY-ONE year old Johnson. :rolleyes:

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Ugh. I can't believe how stupid they are :angry:! Boston hardly gave up anything for Schilling and now look at their offer compared to the Yanks. And trading Eric Duncan is a mistake.

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I actually don't see anything terribly wrong with this move for the Yanks, other than looking Gordon. But then again Gordon did tank it in the playoffs. Whether that's gotta do with his age and he couldn't handle the added pressure or he was just overworked the entire year remains to be seen. It saves the Yanks a lot of $$ in the longrun. Javier is due 2x what Johnson is due. Johnson has 1 year left and probably just one year since he's getting old while Javier has 3 years left.

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http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylc=X3oD...ov=ap&type=lgns

AP NewsBreak: Yankees tell Diamondbacks they're out of Johnson trade talks

By RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer

December 1, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Yankees pulled out of trade talks for Randy Johnson on Wednesday, telling the Diamondbacks that their proposals for deals involving the five-time Cy Young Award winner were unreasonable, The Associated Press learned.

The Yankees informed Arizona of their decision Wednesday afternoon, ending weeks of discussions, a high-ranking baseball official told the AP on condition of anonymity.

While talks appear dead, they might not be over for good. But for now, the Yankees find Arizona's current asking price too high.

Earlier this week, according to the official, New York proposed a deal that would send the Diamondbacks right-hander Javier Vazquez, pitching prospect Brad Halsey and a significant amount of money, believed to be $12 million to $13 million.

Arizona responded, the official said, by asking the Yankees for Vazquez, Halsey, setup man Tom Gordon and $18.5 million -- the difference between the $17 million Johnson is due for the remaining year in his contract and the $35.5 million Vazquez is owed in his deal, which has three seasons left.

Alternatively, the official said, the Diamondbacks told the Yankees they could remove Gordon from the deal and replace him with a top pitcher the Yankees would have to acquire from another team.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

``Anything on that would have to come from Ken Kendrick,'' Arizona GM Joe Garagiola Jr. said, referring to the Diamondbacks managing partner, who could not be reached.

Incoming Diamondbacks CEO Jeff Moorad declined comment and Johnson, who was at the Phoenix Suns' game, said only: ``How about this game?''

New York may now turn its attention to Pedro Martinez. Boston repeated Wednesday that it wants to re-sign the three-time Cy Young Award winner, who also has received an offer from the New York Mets. While Yankees owner George Steinbrenner met with Martinez last month, New York has not yet made an offer, the official said.

Johnson has a no-trade clause, and it's not clear whether the Yankees are the only team he would accept a deal to. The preference of the 41-year-old left-hander appears to be to leave the rebuilding Diamondbacks to pitch for a contender.

In the weeks leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, Arizona and New York also talked about a deal involving Johnson. Discussions resumed several weeks ago with the Diamondbacks proposing the Yankees first acquire a pitcher they could then send to Arizona, the official said.

Arizona asked for Vazquez, $18.5 million, four or five prospects, and a pitcher from a list of 10: Oakland's Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, Florida's A.J. Burnett, Detroit's Jeremy Bonderman, Toronto's Ted Lilly, Los Angeles' Edwin Jackson, Tampa Bay's Scott Kazmir, Colorado's Shawn Chacon and Jason Jennings, and Texas' Kenny Rogers.

Last week, the official said, Arizona changed its request to Vazquez, Gordon, $18.5 million and three to four prospects. :puke::puke::puke:

Yankees captain Derek Jeter said Wednesday he would like the team to keep the 28-year-old Vazquez, who went 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA. Vazquez was an All-Star but slumped badly after the break, winning just once in his last nine regular-season starts.

``It just seemed like he got into a little rut he couldn't get out of,'' Jeter said. ``I'm sure he's going to bounce back and pitch extremely well.''

Johnson is owed $16 million next season, and his contract contains a $1 million personal services contract payable in the first season of his retirement. Vazquez is due the remaining $1 million of his signing bonus on Dec. 31 and is due salaries of $10.5 million, $11.5 million and $12.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

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This is just like the A-Rod fiasco with Boston last year, is it on is it off, just have a decision either way and be done with it, I'm tired of this nonsense :P

And King George doesn't always listen to Jeter, if he did Gary Denbo'd still be the hitting coach after Jeter publicly supported him before George's firing (or was it Down?)

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Good. The Yankees would have been crazy to go through with a deal like that. Man, why didn't Arizona just ask for Mussina, Mo Rivera, and Brown too?

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I was watching the Channel 11 news. They said Arizona wanted Vazquez, Gordon, Duncan, for the Yankees to aquire another pitcher from a list that includes Hudson, Mulder and Zito from Oakland AND $20 Million.

Yankees aren't that desperate. I hope.

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Wow the D-Backs were pretty demanding. I wonder if they were doing that knowing the Yanks might actually consider it.

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I don't really pay attention to baseball...but don't the Yankees have enough old farts? I thought I remember hearing that they have one of the oldest teams in baseball....

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