A trade for Johnson, six months in the making, is finally close to fruition.
The Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks continued negotiations yesterday, and the Diamondbacks appeared as though they would take pitcher Javier Vazquez, the minor league catcher Dioner Navarro and one other prospect, probably the left-hander Brad Halsey, for Johnson. With that package, the Yankees figured to give the Diamondbacks $8 million or $9 million to offset Vazquez's contract. Arizona could then package Navarro with its own prospects and send them to the Dodgers for Shawn Green.
Johnson and the Yankees constitute a match made in Big-and-Tall heaven.
Reportedly, the deal could go down today or tomorrow. However, Bud Selig would not sign off on it until next week and the Yankees and Johnson still have to work out an extension.
Paying the Price
In the most recent edition of The Pinstriped Bible, Steven Goldman compares Jason Giambi's current situation with that of Charlie Keller, who played left-field for the Bombers in the Forties. Goldman is always entertaining, but he's essential reading for Yankee fans because of the historical perspective he brings to his columns. Anyhow, he concludes with some sage words about The Man Who Wasn't There, Mr. Giambi:
Prior to his power explosion of 2000 (for the purposes of this exercise, we will assume that the 33-home-run season in 1999 was his age 27-28 peak), Giambi was a very productive player. If he had never blossomed into a .340 average, 40-home-run hitter, his .296/.381/.497 averages would have made him a wealthy man for the rest of his life. Giambi has, or had, the ability to excel in the major leagues.
For some reason he allegedly felt the need to do something more when what he had was enough. That does deserve some kind of award, but not a wiser-than-thou, smart-alecky one. What the controversy has done to his career, his reputation, and possibly his health is a cause for sorrow rather than superiority. He's pitiable. Who wants to say that about anyone?
There are rumors of the Yankees pursuing Carlos Delgado, as well as placeholder types like Tino Martinez. Delgado, at least, is intriguing, but so is a comeback from a healthy, all-natural, new-outlook-on-life Giambi.
The number of times that has happened in baseball history: zero. What's your pleasure, Mr. Delgado?
I have always liked Carlos Delgado but I'd rather see Giambi come back and have a decent season. There is so much to look forward to in 2005, but I'm more curious about what happens to Jason Giambi than just about anything else.