"It's a good bridge," Giants president Larry Baer said. "A lot of our promising young pitchers are a period of time away. [Johnson] can have a major impact next year."With Johnson aboard, speculation is likely to increase that the Giants will trade a pitcher for a much needed, offensively proven corner infielder who can bolster the middle of the batting order -- San Francisco's remaining void. However, general manager Brian Sabean has steadfastly refused to part with any of the Giants' top pitchers, from mainstays of the rotation to top Minor Leaguers. For example, he resisted entreaties before and during the Winter Meetings to swap Sanchez. As a local product -- he's a native of Walnut Creek, Calif., and graduated from Livermore High School in 1982 -- Johnson was interested in San Francisco from the outset of free agency. And the feeling was mutual. It helped that the Giants are NL West rivals with the D-backs and train in Scottsdale, a short drive from Johnson's home. "We've been talking to them on and off for a few days, and in the last three or four days, Brian and I had a lot of conversations," said Johnson's agent, Barry Meister. "It kind of fit the bill. Randy wanted to stay in the West, train in Arizona, play at home and against the Diamondbacks. We thought it was a good idea." Johnson's contract includes $2.5 million in performance bonuses and $2.5 million in awards bonuses, according to an industry source. The Giants have signed four free agents, more than any other NL West team. They obtained relievers Jeremy Affeldt and Bob Howry and shortstop Edgar Renteria earlier this offseason.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less