Giants, A's show interest in free-agent lefty Johnson

LAS VEGAS -- Big Unit to the Bay Area? Could be.

The Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants appear to be among the teams interested in acquiring free agent Randy Johnson as a veteran addition to their pitching rotations. Not that the 45-year-old lefty will necessarily have settled on a new team by the conclusion of this week's winter meetings.

"We'll see," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said of his team's chances while sitting in a suite at the Bellagio hotel Monday night. "We've talked to his agent. They're not in a hurry, I know that."

Johnson, a 21-year big league veteran, was born in Walnut Creek, Calif., only about a half-hour from where the A's and Giants play -- so returning to his roots could make sense. He surely would be a draw and help boost attendance for either franchise.

But there's also some thought Johnson won't want to leave Arizona and could wind up staying put with the Diamondbacks for a third season and go for his 300th win in familiar territory. Johnson stands at 295 victories after going 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 30 starts this season.

But that would take the sides coming to terms on a new deal. Johnson, who has offered to take a pay cut, filed for free agency last month after failing to reach an agreement with the Diamondbacks.

He "hopes to find a team where he can continue to pitch at a high level and contribute to another world championship," agents Barry Meister and Alan Nero said at the time. They have been in touch with the A's but there are no signs of renewed talks with Arizona.

A message left for Meister wasn't immediately returned Monday.

Oakland general manager Billy Beane didn't rule out going after Johnson, who could be a back-of-the-rotation guy for the A's to help the club's young and inexperienced starters.

"If we were interested in a pitcher, it would be something of an upgrade," said Beane, who has a personal policy not to comment on specific free agents.

The Giants aren't planning to trade lefty Jonathan Sanchez because of the questions surrounding Noah Lowry, another left-hander who is working to come back from nerve surgery on his forearm that cost him the 2008 season and also a procedure on his elbow in October to remove bone spurs.

"It'd be very difficult to trade him, given Lowry's what-if, and we need another starter on top of that," Sabean said.