The NYTimes reports :"Out of a genuine condolence call, and genuine concern, Brian (Cashman) asked Randy if he could reach out to a couple of clubs closer to home, and Randy said he could do that, and that led us to where we are today," said Barry Meister, one of Johnson's agents.
Off the record , Steinbrenner had a different take: "I told Cashman unload that loser anyway you can!" Brian Cashman, one time Yankee wunderkind GM who hasn't brought a WS Championship since 2000 (which in the Bronx might as well be 1000)saw an opening and grabbedit. "If there is one thing I've learned from Mr Steinbrenner, it's how to take advantage of an opening. So here's sad old (and I do mean old!) Randy mourning over some dead relative and every instinct in me is saying, 'Now Brian ,go in for the kill'. Before sobbing Johnson knew what hit him ,his agent and I had the pitiful gimp on a plane to Phoenix."
"At first I thought it was a kind gesture on the Yankees part, you know, sending me home for the funeral burt when I realized I was in the baggage hold in a crate labeled DO NOT RETURN TO SENDER, that's when I knew something was fishy. But no hard feelings, I'm glad to back in Arizona with a new back on none of that NY culture to deal with!"