When Derek Jeter almost prompted The Boss to trade Mariano Rivera for Felix Fermin.
Here’s the way Brian Cashman tells it…
“Yeah, it was close in 1996. We were going to go with the young shortstop, Derek Jeter. In Spring Training, there were people in George’s circle who raised concerns about whether Derek was going to be ready or not.
” Tony Fernandez got hurt. Pat Kelly got hurt. We didn’t have any alternatives if Derek failed as a rookie. The Mariners came knocking on our door. They had Felix Fermin they wanted to move. They wanted either Mariano Rivera or Bob Wickman. One of those two guys.
“The Boss was honestly considering it. We had serious conversations about it in Joe Torre’s office with the coaching staff, Gene Michael, myself, Bob Watson. It was a fight. The Boss was convinced to stand down and don’t do a well none of us were recommending.
“It wasn’t because we knew what we had in Mo or Wickman. It was we had committed to go with young Jeter. Thankfully, we didn’t do that deal. The Boss listened and backed down.
“That’s as close as we ever came to trading Mariano. Gene Michael had a chance to trade Mariano for David Wells, maybe in ’95. Mariano was in the minor leaguers. Wells was pitching for the Tigers.
“Gene Michael said no. I don’t think that one got close. But the one in ’96, that was. I think the press was lined up outside for like an hour and a half waiting for that door to open in Joe Torre’s office and for the Papal spoke to rise (and announce) `We’ve elected to stay with Jeter.’
“Life with the Yankees could have changed drastically if a mistake had been made there.”