Johnson's agents start money talks with Yanks

Updated: January 5, 2005, 6:05 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Changing His Number
A source told that once the Yankees finalize their trade with the Diamondbacks for Randy Johnson, they will announce that Johnson will take a different number than the No. 51 he has worn throughout his career.

Bernie Williams currently wears No. 51 for the Yankees.

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.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press