D-backs working on three-team trade

Originally Published: December 17, 2004
ESPN.com news services

Several obstacles stand in the way of a proposed three-team mega-trade involving five-time Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson that was reportedly on the road to getting done Thursday night.

A baseball source told ESPN on Thursday that the proposed trade involving the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Dodgers is not as close to completion as earlier reports had indicated -- and that the deal is rapidly exceeding the complexity of last year's failed Alex Rodriguez-to-Boston trade.

Trade obstacles
Randy Johnson
Starting Pitcher
Arizona Diamondbacks
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L Sv K ERA
35 16 14 0 290 2.60











Owed $16 million in 2005 and wants a contract extension at age 41; No-trade clause with the Yankees as his only desired destination.
Shawn Green
First Base
Los Angeles Dodgers
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R SB AVG
157 28 86 92 5 .266












No-trade clause, playing for his hometown team; Owed $16 million in 2005; Fading career? His OPS has gone down from the previous season's all but one year since 1999.
Javier Vazquez
Starting Pitcher
New York Yankees
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L Sv K ERA
32 14 10 0 150 4.91












Owed $34.5 million over next three seasons; Health questions, physical (shoulder MRI) and mental (4-5, 6.92 ERA in disastrous second half).

However, Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny, one of the seven players involved in the trade, told ESPN Radio on Friday that the deal is nearly done and he is scheduled to take a physical for Arizona next week.

"It's pretty close to being done from everything I understand," he said. "There's still a few ways it couldn't happen -- you have a couple of no-trade clauses -- but everything's looking good. I think I'm going to take a physical next week if this goes through, and if that goes through everything will be fine."

Reports from Newsday and Fox Sports on Thursday indicated that the teams were closing in on a trade that would send Johnson to the Yankees, Javier Vazquez and prospects Eric Duncan and Dioner Navarro to Los Angeles and Shawn Green and pitchers Penny and Yhency Brazoban to Arizona.

However, there are reportedly several variations on the trade being considered, including the possibility that a fourth team could be involved.

One stumbling block is the Dodgers, who lost Adrian Beltre to the Mariners on Thursday.

Beltre agreed to a $64 million, five-year deal with Seattle, after the Johnson trade was proposed.

By failing to re-sign Beltre, the Dodgers may rethink their role in the trade, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported.

Losing both Beltre and Green would leave the Dodgers with a power shortage at the plate. Beltre batted .334 with 48 homers and 121 RBI last season while Green hit .266 with 28 homers and 86 RBI.

Other issues that threatened to derail the trade include the waiving of Green's no-trade clause.

A source close to Green, who is due $16 million in 2005, told ESPN.com that the Dodgers outfielder is happy living in Southern California, where he grew up, and has expressed no desire to leave Los Angeles.

"I think Shawn always envisioned finishing his career with the Dodgers," Green's agent, Greg Genske, said Friday. "But if a trade is put in place, he's going to consider all of his options."

How much money the Diamondbacks would receive from the Yankees is also a point of contention. Sources told Stark that moving Duncan and Navarro would preclude the Yankees from sending money to Arizona.

Another obstacle that could reportedly derail the trade is Vazquez's salary; he is due $34.5 million over the next three seasons and Los Angeles apparently wants help from the Yankees footing the bill.

There was no confirmation from any of the teams that a deal has been proposed.

"We're at the point where we've decided the best thing we can do is have no comment," Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick said Friday.

Johnson's agent, Barry Meister, declined comment when reached by ESPN.com.

"We're still in conversations with a lot of different clubs about a lot of different possibilities," Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta said earlier Thursday. "We have talked about some three-way deals and some four-way deals.

"I don't know if it's going to happen or not," he said.

Johnson, like Green, has a no-trade clause, but the Big Unit had said he would accept a deal to the Yankees. The Yankees also would be expected to sign Johnson to a contract extension if they acquire him. Johnson will make $16 million next season, the final year of his contract.

Even if there is an agreement to put Johnson in Yankee pinstripes, New York plans to ask for a 72-hour window to negotiate a contract extension with Johnson before completing the deal, a baseball source told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Johnson was a Montreal Expos second-round draft pick in 1985. He signed with Arizona on Dec. 10, 1998, and won the Cy Young Award in each of his first four seasons in the desert. He finished second to Houston's Roger Clemens in this year's voting.

Johnson also won a Cy Young Award in Seattle, where he played from 1989-98. Johnson finished with a 16-14 record in 2004, but he led the majors in strikeouts with 290 and was second in the majors with a 2.60 ERA despite coming off knee surgery. In a season in which Arizona lost a franchise-worst 111 games, Johnson pitched a perfect game, passed 4,000 career strikeouts and passed Steve Carlton to become the most prolific left-handed strikeout pitcher in history. He ranks No. 3 on the strikeout list behind Nolan Ryan and Clemens.

Penny, 26, was traded from Florida to the Dodgers on July 30 but saw limited action for Los Angeles because of a problem in his right arm. He was 9-10 with a 3.15 ERA for both clubs.

Penny was selected in the fifth round of Arizona's initial free-agent draft in 1996 but never pitched for the Diamondbacks in the majors. He, right-hander Vladimir Nunez and outfielder Abraham Nunez (as a player to be named) were traded to Florida for closer Matt Mantei in July 1999.

"It's pretty cool," Penny told ESPN Radio of the proposed trade. "I was drafted by the Diamondbacks and I wasn't in L.A. long enough to really be a Dodger. I had one start and then I got hurt. But I know a lot of guys over there and it looks like the Diamondbacks are moving in the right direction."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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