Johnson has been especially effective against left handed pitching over the course of his career, something that two of the three outfielders projected to start for the Yankees in 2010 are not. He also has the ability to defend all three outfield positions - and is particularly effective in the corners - a skill that the Yankees have placed increasing priority on in recent years. However, despite the fit from the Yankees' perspective, Johnson was unwilling to conform to the Yankees grooming policy which allows only well-trimmed mustaches and short sideburns and was introduced by George Steinbrenner shortly after his purchase of the team.
"Scrap these beautiful chin whiskers, brah?", Johnson rhetorically asked a female reporter for the AP. "I've been cultivating this righteous 'tee off and on since I came up with the Jays and I'm not about to shave it off to go play for the [expletive] Yankees".
This came as a surprise to Brain Cashman, who seemed flustered by Johnson's continued rebuffing of his advances. According to a source within the Yankee organization with knowledge of the negotiations, Cashman told Johnson that New York would be willing to offer him $1M with another $500K in incentives - significantly more than the other offers he had on the table. However, Johnson gave the Yankees an ultimatum that specified the team would need to double their offer or allow him to retain his goatee in order for him to sign. Cashman, along with Hal Steinbrenner, were neither willing to change the grooming policy nor offer Johnson twice as much in order to get him to shave.
Instead of signing Johnson, the Yankees were forced to make a $2M deal with Randy Winn, a switch hitter who struggled mightily against lefties last season and has a negligible platoon split over the course of his career. Winn sported a far neater goatee in San Francisco but was willing to part with it in order to become a member of the defending World Champions. Said Winn, "Chad Gaudin gave up that Amish-looking arrangement on his chin last year and look what it got him. A World Series ring, baby".
Brain Cashman refused to comment on Johnson's negotiating tactcs, saying only "We are happy with our deal with Randy [Winn] and we look forward to seeing him in Spring Training".