Merry Christmas! I’m sporting a new fleece and decided to duck in with a quick Christmas trade rumor.
While it was denied a week ago, it sounds like discussions are indeed taking place that would bring Randy Johnson back to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Johnson’s agent and D’Backs general partner Ken Kendrick are mum on the subject.
Ed Price reports that the Yankees don’t want to pay any of the $16MM owed to the Big Unit in 2007. Arizona’s rotation currently consists of Brandon Webb, Livan Hernandez, Doug Davis, and a competition between Juan Cruz, Dana Eveland, Edgar Gonzalez, and Enrique Gonzalez. The Diamondbacks are packed with promising youngsters like Conor Jackson and Dustin Nippert.
Johnson had back surgery after the season ended; he turned 43 this year. He may not be ready for spring training. ZiPS, which projected pitchers better than anyone last year, predicts a 3.71 ERA for Johnson in 2007 – even as a Yankee. PECOTA chimes in with a 3.52 projection; it’s easy to be deceived by the 5.00 ERA. More attention should be paid to his 1.24 WHIP in 2006 – that’s more than respectable.
UPDATE: Amy Nelson of ESPN reports that Arizona has offered a package of at least three players for Johnson. Word is that Chad Tracy could be among them. They’d want a window to negotiate a contract extension. Nelson also mentions that the Padres have interest and could offer Scott Linebrink.
Additionally, Jon Heyman writes that Johnson initiated the trade idea and that the Giants could be in the mix. The Yankees seem to be looking for young pitching in return. Heyman speculates that they could become a possibility for Barry Zito if Johnson is dealt.