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D'backs grabbing their Johnson?

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A quick catchup on the apparently-looming RJ deal, before I head off to the Phoenix Fear Film Festival, though I don't have time to do much more than a quick summary of the latest reports...

New York Daily News: "The Arizona Diamondbacks have been the most aggressive suitors for Randy Johnson and sources close to the negotiations said Thursday that the Yankees and Arizona could complete a trade to send Johnson back to the desert before next week. The Diamondbacks, who view Johnson as a gate attraction, want to talk to the Big Unit about a contract extension, a source said... The Yankees, meanwhile, have their eyes on a package of Arizona pitching prospects. The Diamondbacks are loaded with young talent and if the Yankees send Johnson home to Arizona - Johnson's home is in the Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley - they'd like to get at least two of the following three pitchers: Dustin Nippert, Micah Owings and Ross Ohlendorf."

I'm sure they would like to get two of them. However, that doesn't mean they necessarily are going to get them, and I would reject a deal: give them one of the trio perhaps, along with a lower-level prospect. As I've mentioned before, we do not have to trade for Johnson: how good is a PO'd Big Unit going to be for New York? We've seen that already, earlier in his career, when he wanted out of Seattle...

East Valley Tribune: "If Randy Johnson returns to the Diamondbacks, it will be for at least two seasons, seemingly ample time for him to get his 300th career victory. Johnson has one year remaining on his contract with the New York Yankees at $16 million, but because of the way the D-Backs' payroll breaks, they would seek to add another year to make the deal work financially if a trade goes through. "Two years is a preference and a necessity," a high-ranking D-Backs official said Thursday while reporting no movement in trade discussions. The D-Backs have about $10 million to spend this season to hit their payroll projection of $60 million-$65 million. But their largest contract -- Livan Hernandez's $7 million -- is up after 2007, and the projected payroll in 2008 is between $65 million and $70 million, which would enable the D-Backs to afford a back-loaded Johnson deal."

It also goes on to talk about the $40m we still owe Johnson from his last stint, which would be restructured as part of the deal. Any pitcher at his age is going to be a game of Russian Roulette, but if we're signing him for two years, I can only presume that due diligence has been carried out, and we will not end up paying a lot of money for something which sits, surly and aggressive, at the far end of the bench until the end of 2008.

Okay, let the discussion and updates continue...