D-backs, Yanks still talking Unit trade

D-backs, Yanks still talking trade

PHOENIX -- The D-backs continue to talk with the Yankees about a deal involving Randy Johnson, but plenty of details remain to be worked out -- both with the financial aspects as well as the players involved, a source with knowledge of the negotiations said.

The Yankees are interested in Arizona's young pitchers, particularly starters Micah Owings, Russ Ohlendorf and Dustin Nippert, along with relievers Brandon Medders and Luis Vizcaino. According to the source, the D-backs would have to part with two or three members of that group depending on whether the Yankees agree to pay some of Johnson's $16 million salary for 2007.

General parameters of which players would be involved have been set, but the two teams have not agreed yet on specific players. With a surplus of starters, the Yankees are looking to use Johnson to acquire young pitching talent.

The D-backs might feel comfortable parting with Vizcaino rather than one of their younger pitchers, which would seem to make sense despite the fact that Vizcaino was arguably the club's most valuable reliever in 2006, when he went 4-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 70 games.

That's because the 32-year-old is set for a raise from the $1.7 million he made last year, and he is one year away from becoming a free agent.

Johnson expressd a desire to pitch closer to home when Yankees GM Brian Cashman called him to convey his condolences on the passing of Johnson's brother.

The desert seems a logical destination for Johnson, given that he and his family live in the Phoenix area and he had some of the best years of his career with the D-backs, including a 2001 World Series victory over the Yankees.

Arizona would like to restructure Johnson's current contract, which expires after next season, extending it by a year. That would not only make the financial end more palatable to the club, but would also allow the future Hall of Famer to have a chance to pick up his 300th victory in an Arizona uniform. Johnson, who has won 17 games in each of the past two seasons for the Yankees, has 280 wins.

The two teams have not reached an agreement, so the D-backs have not been given a 72-hour window to negotiate with Johnson's camp about finances or waiving his no-trade clause. A source said Tuesday the D-backs have not had any contact with Johnson.

Owings, Ohlendorf and Nippert are among a group of seven pitchers that the D-backs expect to compete this spring for the final two spots in their rotation. Medders is a hard-throwing right-hander who was 4-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 27 games in 2005. He slipped to 5-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 2006.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.