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Astros Make Pitch for Johnson

November 4, 1998

HOUSTON (AP) _ The Astros have made an offer to bring back Randy Johnson, but they disputed a report in The Houston Chronicle that they proposed a three-year deal worth $33 million to $36 million.

General manager Gerry Hunsicker called the dollar figure aggressive.

``We met with him and made a serious offer, but as far as the term or dollars involved, it’s just not appropriate,″ said Hunsicker, who acknowledged any deal would be for more than one year.

In a visit to Johnson’s home in the Phoenix are, the Astros learned that they were on his short list along with the Anaheim Angels, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers.

Diamondbacks general manager partner Jerry Colangelo visited Johnson on Sunday, speaking with him, his wife Lisa and agents Barry Meister and Alan Nero.

Money wasn’t mentioned since such a subject is forbidden suitors other than a player’s current club until Friday. Johnson has filed for free agency and indicated he wants to see what kind of offers await.

Johnson, 35, made $6 million 1998. He’s thought to be seeking $10 million or more, which would place him in the salary range of other top pitchers such as Pedro Martinez of the Boston Red Sox and Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves.

First baseman Jeff Bagwell currently is the highest paid Astro at $8 million per year.

Johnson went 19-11 with a 3.27 ERA and 329 strikeouts for Seattle and Houston last season and has a career record of 143-79. He went 10-1 after Houston acquired him from Seattle on July 31.

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