Dodgers still in hunt for Big Unit?

Updated: July 30, 2004, 11:20 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

As the clock ticks toward Saturday's 4 p.m. ET trading deadline, Randy Johnson's future is still up in the air. And that future could include the Dodgers.

Johnson, a member of the Diamondbacks, was wearing an Arizona uniform when he pitched against the Rockies tonight in Arizona.

However, the first phase in a scenario that might end with Johnson sent to Los Angeles was hatched Friday afternoon, ESPN's Peter Gammons reports.

The Florida Marlins traded pitcher Brad Penny, Hee Seop Choi and highly regarded Double-A pitcher Bill Murphy to the Dodgers for relief pitcher Guillermo Mota, catcher Paul Lo Duca and outfielder Juan Encarnacion.

According to The Associated Press, the teams were waiting Friday night for the deal to be approved.

Although the trade was not yet official, the Dodgers acted as if it were a done deal. Players came to Lo Duca's locker to say their goodbyes before Friday's game against San Diego.

"It's hard because this is the only organization I've ever known," said Lo Duca, the Dodgers' emotional leader who was a 25th-round draft pick by Los Angeles in 1993. "It's difficult because I've made a lot of friends."

At one point, Lo Duca had to momentarily stop talking to reporters because he began to cry.

"Right now it's hard to really fathom it, especially with Lo Duca being here for so many years," Dodgers first baseman Shawn Green said. "The three that have been traded have been a big part of the chemistry, and it's obviously going to change the dynamic. Other guys are going to have to step into different roles on the field and in the clubhouse."

If the Big Unit says yes to a trade to the Dodgers -- the D-Backs approached Johnson on Thursday again about accepting a deal to the Dodgers and Johnson said he would sleep on it, Gammons reported -- it would set in motion other trades that would also include outfielder Steve Finley being dealt.

The Dodgers could also acquire Finley in a three-team deal even if they don't get Johnson.

ESPN's Jim Bowden reported Friday that the Dodgers have agreed to acquire catcher Charles Johnson from the Rockies, filling the void left created by Lo Duca's departure. Johnson needs to approve the deal and plans to sleep on it overnight.

Citing family concerns, learning a new pitching staff, moving and the chance to get more playing time in Los Angeles, Johnson said he probably wouldn't make a decision until Saturday.

"They've asked me about it, and I still haven't decided what I want to do," said Johnson, who didn't start against Arizona on Friday night. "I'm not leaning one way or the other. Obviously, I have to make a decision shortly."

The Yankees, with serious pitching concerns, crave the Big Unit. But their top offer doesn't appear to interest the D-Backs enough.

The Mets, also looking for pitching help, acquired pitcher Victor Zambrano and a minor league pitcher from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for pitcher Scott Kazmir and another minor leaguer.

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports the Padres have acquired first baseman/DH Brad Fullmer from to the Rangers for a minor leaguer to be named later.

Fullmer was put on the 15-day DL on Monday with a sore right knee, the same one he had surgery on last season.