Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 3/10/13
Tribute-george
The Yankees won the World Series in 1996, but it wasn’t before the team came close to making a move that would have significantly altered New York’s future. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman retold a story to the New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand recently. Apparently, the Bronx Bombers came close to trading away legendary closer Mariano Rivera during spring training in 1996. “Yeah, it was close,” Cashman reportedly said. “The spring of ’96, he’d pitched in the playoffs for us. We were going to go with a young shortstop that turned out to be Derek Jeter. Derek wasn’t having a good spring training. There were some people in [former Yankees owner] George [Steinbrenner's] circle that raised concern about whether Jeter was going to be ready or not. Tony Fernandez got hurt. Pat Kelly got hurt. We didn’t really have any alternatives if Jeter failed as a rookie, so the Mariners came knocking on our door because they had Felix Fermin they wanted to move and they wanted either Mariano Rivera or Bob Wickman, one of those two guys for Felix Fermin, and The Boss was honestly considering it.” Cashman, who was then an assistant GM, reportedly went on to say that the Yankees’ front office had “some serious conversations” in then-manager Joe Torre‘s office. Cashman insists that they ultimately recommended to Steinbrenner that they not do the deal, but it wasn’t because they knew what they had in Rivera or Wickman. Instead, it was because they were committed to Jeter. “The Boss listened, backed down, made us go through the fire drill, and that was as close as we ever came to trading Mariano,” Cashman reportedly said. “Gene Michael had a chance to trade Mariano for David Wells, maybe in ’95. Mariano was in our minor leagues, Wells was pitching for the Tigers as a starter, and Gene Michael said no. But I don’t believe that got close. “But the one in ’96, that was kind of like, I think the press were all lined up outside for what felt like an hour and a half, waiting for that door to open to Joe Torre’s office and for the papal smoke to rise as white, that we’ve elected to stay with Jeter and we wound up keeping both Wickman and Mariano. But the life of the Yankees could’ve drastically if a mistake was made there.” Stories of star players nearly getting traded early on in their careers seem to pop up every now and then, but trading Rivera really would have had a lasting impact. He and Jeter, who have earned five World Series rings since, have been instrumental in the Yankees’ success. Fermin, on the other hand? Well, he was instead released by the Mariners that April. The shortstop would go on to play in 11 games with the Cubs in 1996 before hanging up the cleats. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Francona said to be ‘fine’ after leaving game with health issue

Russell Westbrook gets emotional thanking family in MVP speech

Malcolm Brogdon makes history by beating out Saric, Embiid for Rookie of the Year

Bill Russell delivers epic line after winning NBA lifetime achievement award

Draymond Green ensemble at NBA Awards must be seen to believe

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Victor Oladipo gets schooled by young boy at basketball camp

John Wall trying to recruit Paul George to join Wizards

Report: Saints looking at ways to recoup guaranteed money owed to Nick Fairley

Martellus Bennett thinks Rodgers is better than Brady?

Fairley expected to miss 2017 season due to heart condition

Cousins could get more than $30 million per year in free agency?

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker