Selig approves Johnson trade to Yankees

Posted: Tuesday, January 04, 2005

NEW YORK - Randy Johnson is practically ready to be measured for one tall set of pinstripes.

Commissioner Bud Selig gave his blessing Monday to a trade that will send the Big Unit to the Yankees, making a contract extension the last major obstacle to be resolved in the drawn-out Arizona-New York swap.

The Yankees were given a 72-hour window to come to terms with the five-time Cy Young Award winner. Johnson's current deal pays him $16 million in 2005 and expires after this season.

''We're just looking forward to beginning the process,'' said Alan Nero, one of Johnson's agents.

The Diamondbacks would receive pitchers Javier Vazquez and Brad Halsey, young catcher Dioner Navarro and $9 million to be paid over three years.

Arizona also agreed Monday to a proposed trade that would send Navarro and other prospects to the Dodgers for Shawn Green and $8 million. The slugger was part of a three-team, 10-player swap involving Johnson and the Yankees that collapsed Dec. 21 when Los Angeles backed out.

Selig granted the Diamondbacks a window to work out an extension for Green, who will make $16 million this year, then can become a free agent. The windows for both negotiations will begin Tuesday and end at noon Friday EST, Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick said.

''There are obviously two separate transactions, and each has a variety of conditions that need to be met,'' Kendrick said. ''It starts a window of time wherein contractual matters need to be resolved, between the Yankees and Randy, and us and Randy, and us and Shawn Green.

''And then, finally, a whole array of physical exams need to take place, because of the number of players involved.''

Having talked about a trade since July, New York and Johnson should have a pretty good idea about the parameters on an extension. Asked if the sides could reach an agreement this week, Nero responded: ''I certainly would hope so.''

Johnson, 41, was 16-14 last season on a Diamondbacks team that went 51-111, tied for the 10th-most losses in major league history. The 6-foot-10 left-hander led the majors with 290 strikeouts, was second with a 2.60 ERA and pitched a perfect game against Atlanta, but the Diamondbacks scored two runs or fewer in 17 of his 35 starts.

Vazquez, a 28-year-old right-hander, was 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA for the Yankees. While he was picked for his first All-Star team, he won just once in his last nine regular-season starts and had a 9.53 ERA in three postseason games.

New York is giving Arizona $3 million in each of the next three seasons to cover part of Vazquez's salary. He gets $10.5 million in 2005, $11.5 million in 2006 and $12.5 million in 2007.

Navarro and pitching prospect William Juarez would go to the Dodgers as part of the Green trade, Kendrick confirmed. If the Johnson trade falls apart, Arizona would send Juarez and 23-year-old catcher Chris Snyder to Los Angeles.

While completing the trade for Johnson, a 10-time All-Star, New York also is turning its attention this week to Carlos Beltran. The free-agent center fielder is to meet Tuesday with Mets owner Fred Wilpon and general manager Omar Minaya, and faces a Saturday deadline to re-sign with the Houston Astros.

Boggs leading candidate for Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Wade Boggs might have to get used to a new routine Tuesday: life as a Hall of Famer.

The five-time AL batting champion, known for his array of pre- and postgame rituals, is the top newcomer on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot, joining holdovers Ryne Sandberg and Bruce Sutter.

During an 18-year major league career, Boggs won five American League batting titles for the Boston Red Sox, made the All-Star team 12 times and finished with 3,010 hits.

He headed to the ballpark at the same time before every game, made sure to chow down on chicken and cheesecake before the first pitch, and had two hot dogs, a bag of barbecue potato chips and an iced tea after the final out.

''If I had one or two, I wouldn't have anything to do,'' he said of his routines and superstitions. ''So I have 80 or 100 that I go through during the day, and they fall into place. I know exactly what I'm going to do along the way. That makes me relax and get into a frame of mind that I need to be in.''

Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley were elected to the Hall last year, when Ryne Sandberg fell 71 votes shy of the 380 (75 percent) needed. Bruce Sutter (301) was third, followed by Jim Rice (276), Andre Dawson (253), Rich Gossage (206), Lee Smith (185) and Bert Blyleven (179).

Eight-time All-Star Darryl Strawberry and two-time NL batting champion Willie McGee also are among 12 players appearing of the ballot for the first time.

Boggs, 46, won batting titles in 1983 and from 1985-88, becoming the first player to win the AL batting championship in four straight years since Rod Carew from 1972-75. Boggs, who hit .300 or higher 15 times, finished with a .328 average and was the only player in the 20th century with seven straight 200-hit seasons. He also became the first player ever to get 200 hits and 100 walks in four consecutive seasons.

A two-time Gold Glove winner at third base, Boggs played for the Red Sox from 1982-92, then spent five seasons with the New York Yankees, helping the team win the 1996 World Series and riding a police horse around Yankee Stadium after the final victory.

His final two seasons were with his hometown Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

''There's players that are in the Hall of Fame that are more gifted,'' Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar said. ''But I'm not sure there's anybody there that has taken the game any more seriously and has truly come to the ballpark every day ready to play.''

On Aug. 7, 1999, Boggs became the 23d member of the 3,000-hit club, connecting off Cleveland's Chris Haney to become the first player to get No. 3,000 with a home run. After circling the bases, Boggs kissed home plate.

''I finally put my flag in that mountain. So many guys have tried and come up short,'' Boggs said. ''It was like the longest mile to walk up to the plate.''

Sandberg, the 1984 NL Most Valuable Player, was a nine-time Gold Glove second baseman for the Chicago Cubs and a 10-time All-Star. He hit 277 homers, at the time of his retirement the most by a second baseman, and his .989 fielding percentage is the highest at the position.


AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report

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