<
>

Johnson's agents start money talks with Yanks

NEW YORK -- One of Randy Johnson's agents started talks with the New York Yankees on Tuesday for a contract extension for the Big Unit.

Alan Nero spoke with several officials of the team in New York.
The Yankees have until Friday to agree to deal with Johnson as part
of the proposed trade with Arizona.

"We're making progress," said Nero, who along with Barry
Meister, represents Johnson.

Johnson, a five-time Cy Young Award winner, is making $16
million this season and would be eligible for free agency without
the extension.

Because of his no-trade clause, Johnson has the right to block a
trade. Once he waives the no-trade clause, he and the other players
involved in the trade must pass physicals before the swap can be
finalized.

New York and Arizona agreed last week to the proposed deal, in
which Johnson would go to the Yankees for pitchers Javy Vazquez and
Brad Halsey, catcher Dioner Navarro and $9 million. The
Diamondbacks would then trade Navarro and pitching prospect William
Juarez to Los Angeles for outfielder Shawn Green and $8 million.

The Dodgers-Diamondbacks trade is subject to Green agreeing to a
contract extension with Arizona.

Because of the Johnson negotiations, the Yankees have thus far decided to not make an offer
to free-agent center fielder Carlos Beltran.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner met with him in Tampa, Fla.,
last month, but New York officials still are awaiting a decision
from Steinbrenner on the team's next step.