Johnson agrees to $26 million, 2-year contract

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NEW YORK (AP) – Randy Johnson agreed Sunday to a $26 million, two-year contract with Arizona, leaving only physicals and final approvals to complete his trade from the New York Yankees back to the Diamondbacks.

Johnson most likely will take his physical Monday, and the trade probably will be finalized Tuesday. Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes confirmed the agreement but otherwise declined comment until after the medical information is reviewed.

New York, which acquired the Big Unit from Arizona two years ago, would receive reliever Luis Vizcaino, minor league right-handers Ross Ohlendorf and Steven Jackson, and minor league shortstop Alberto Gonzalez.

“We’re very excited and very happy for Randy, We think it’s a win-win for everybody,” said Alan Nero, who represents Johnson along with Barry Meister. “It was very complex because there was a lot of legal work _ it was the third time the contract has been redone. Other than that, I think it went very smoothly.”

Johnson, a 43-year-old left-hander who lives in the Phoenix area, was owed $16 million this year in the final season of his January 2005 contract with the Yankees, a deal that called for $1.5 million to be deferred without interest until 2010.

Because of the cash involved, commissioner Bud Selig must approve the trade.

If the trade goes through, Johnson would join an Arizona starting rotation that includes reigning Cy Young winner Brandon Webb, Livan Hernandez and Doug Davis.

In their only other major move in the offseason, the Diamondbacks acquired the left-handed Davis from Milwaukee in a six-player deal that sent catcher Johnny Estrada to the Brewers.

As part of the trade, New York would pay $2 million of Johnson’s salary this year. That means Arizona would be responsible for $24 million: $5.5 million this year, $10.5 million in 2008 and $4 million each in 2009 and 2010.

In addition, the Diamondbacks owe the five-time Cy Young Award winner just over $44 million, including accrued interest, from 2007-12. That money was earned by Johnson when he pitched for Arizona from 1999-2004, winning four Cy Youngs.

Johnson had until 5 p.m. EST Sunday to reach an extension under a 72-hour window granted Thursday by the commissioner’s office. His agents held several telephone discussions with the Diamondbacks to reach the agreement.

Johnson’s new agreement came two years and one day after he agreed to his extension with the Yankees. He went 103-49 with the Diamondbacks and helped them beat the Yankees in the 2001 World Series, going 3-0 against New York. He went 17-11 with a 5.00 ERA last season, and had back surgery Oct. 26.

He failed to win both of his postseason starts with the Yankees, and on Friday the Daily News ran a back-page headline that read: “GOOD RIDDANCE.”

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