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D-Backs Sign Johnson to $33 Million Pact

March 24, 2003

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) _ Randy Johnson and Arizona agreed Monday to a $33 million, two-year contract extension that will keep him with the Diamondbacks through the 2005 season.

Johnson won four NL Cy Young Awards and one World Series title in the first four seasons of his current contract. The left-hander will be 42 when the deal ends.

``They want some return on what they’re giving me and I try to give them it back tenfold,″ Johnson said. ``I suppose that if you continue to say that I’m old, you’re eventually going to be right. But I’m looking at it as just a number.″

Johnson’s $16.5 million average annual salary will be the highest ever for a pitcher, topping the $15.45 million Roger Clemens averaged with the New York Yankees in 2001 and 2002.

Johnson is 81-27 since joining the Diamondbacks, raising his career record to 224-106.

``We’re talking about one of the greatest pitchers of all-time,″ owner Jerry Colangelo said. ``It’s been a real pleasure for our fans and it’s a joy to say they’re going to be able to see him continue on.″

Last year. Johnson became the first major leaguer since Boston’s Pedro Martinez in 1999 and the first NL player since the New York Mets’ Dwight Gooden in 1985 to win a pitching triple crown. Johnson was 24-5 with a 2.37 ERA and 334 strikeouts, leading the major leagues in strikeouts for the ninth time.

In 2001, he won Games 2, 6 and 7 of the World Series, becoming the first pitcher with three Series victories since Detroit’s Mickey Lolich in 1968 and the first ever with five victories in a single postseason. After throwing 101 pitches in Game 6, he came out of the bullpen the following night and pitched 1 1-3 shutout innings, enabling Arizona to rally in the ninth inning for a 3-2 win.

Johnson agreed to a four-year contract with Arizona before the 1999 season, a deal that guaranteed him $52.4 million over four years and contained a $12 million option for 2003 with a $3 million buyout.

He already has earned $2.75 million in bonuses, raising his total under the current deal to a minimum $64.15 million over five years.

Johnson’s extension will pay him $16 million in each of the 2004 and 2005 seasons, and contains a $1 million personal-services contract at the end of the deal.

Arizona is deferring $6 million in each year of the extension. Johnson already had agreed to defer $8 million a year in salary for 2001, 2002 and 2003, money that will be paid with 6 percent compounded interest.

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