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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Mariano for Felix Fermin? Deal almost happened

It was March 1996, and the Yankees’ young rookie shortstop was scuffling during Spring Training. Derek Jeter was expected to fill the position for Joe Torre’s club on Opening Day, but the 21-year-old looked overmatched at times, causing owner George Steinbrenner to grow concerned.

“He was pushing hard,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who was the assistant GM at the time. “Derek Jeter, this up-and-coming young rookie that we’re going to go with at shortstop, didn’t look good in in his Spring Training of ‘96, and so therefore we need to trade for an everyday shortstop. Felix Fermin could be had, and Woody Woodward was the GM of the Seattle Mariners. And the trade partner request was Fermin to the Yankees for either Mariano Rivera, Bob Wickman.

“We spent what felt like three hours trying to convince the Boss not to do it. We huddled in Joe Torre’s office in Tampa and basically banged it out, and the Boss reluctantly left and allowed us to not make the move. And then the rest was history.”

“What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?!? He had 30 home runs, and over 100 RBIs last year. He’s got a rocket for an arm. You don’t know what the hell you’re doin’!”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 06:17 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mariano rivera

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2019 at 06:33 PM (#5862724)
Fermin was part of the trade for Vizquel who will probably make the HoF. Weird to think he was almost traded for another HoFer. He was also once a player to be named later in a trade for a player to be named later.
   2. Rennie's Tenet Posted: July 17, 2019 at 10:07 PM (#5862766)
The PTBNL trade was for Jay Bell, who played 2,000 games in the majors.

Over thirty years ago, I wrote a letter to the sports editor of one of the Pittsburgh papers, including the opinion that the Pirates should stop screwing around with multiple shortstops and let Felix Fermin play for a while. A couple days later, Jim Leyland took a few seconds out of his daily press time to basically call me an idiot. That was pretty exciting at that time.
   3. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 18, 2019 at 08:57 AM (#5862803)
It was March 1996, and the Yankees’ young rookie shortstop was scuffling during Spring Training. Derek Jeter was expected to fill the position for Joe Torre’s club on Opening Day, but the 21-year-old looked overmatched at times, causing owner George Steinbrenner to grow concerned.

“He was pushing hard,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who was the assistant GM at the time. “Derek Jeter, this up-and-coming young rookie that we’re going to go with at shortstop, didn’t look good in in his Spring Training of ‘96, and so therefore we need to trade for an everyday shortstop. Felix Fermin could be had, and Woody Woodward was the GM of the Seattle Mariners. And the trade partner request was Fermin to the Yankees for either Mariano Rivera, Bob Wickman.

“We spent what felt like three hours trying to convince the Boss not to do it. We huddled in Joe Torre’s office in Tampa and basically banged it out, and the Boss reluctantly left and allowed us to not make the move. And then the rest was history.”

This story makes sense. Before the season opened I remember Steinbrenner being quoted as saying (paraphrasing) "The solution to shortstop is not Derek Jeter".
   4. eric Posted: July 18, 2019 at 09:07 AM (#5862805)
"The solution to shortstop is not Derek Jeter".


The Boss just had an acute eye for defensive deficiencies.
   5. spycake Posted: July 18, 2019 at 09:44 AM (#5862820)
Fermin was hideously awful at the plate in 1995 (20 OPS+), lost his starting job, and had 1 AB in the Seattle's 11 postseason games (including 5 vs NY). And he didn't even make the Mariners roster out of spring training in 1996. Trading anything for him that spring would have been a truly awful move. At least Phelps was hitting well in 1988, and coming off several good hitting seasons.
   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 18, 2019 at 09:45 AM (#5862821)
As per Murray Chass, back when he still worked at the NYT, the Yankees also nearly traded Rivera and Posada to the Reds for David Wells. Jim Bowden, who was the Reds' GM at the time, ended up going for an Orioles package fronted by Curtis Goodwin instead.
   7. Rally Posted: July 18, 2019 at 09:50 AM (#5862824)
Weird to think he was almost traded for another HoFer.


And if so, would have blocked another future HOFer in AAA.

If they had done this deal, who knows, they might have covered for a lack of middle relief by trading the AAA shortstop later in the season.
   8. Rally Posted: July 18, 2019 at 09:51 AM (#5862827)
You never know where these what ifs could lead. Perhaps after another year without a title in 2000, and no franchise shortstop around, they get A-Rod on his first free agent contract.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 18, 2019 at 10:17 AM (#5862829)
Also, the Yankees were pretty close to a deal to trade Derek Jeter for Randy Myers in 1994, but with a looming work stoppage, it didn't make much sense to make a deal for a rental.
   10. spycake Posted: July 18, 2019 at 02:39 PM (#5862946)
If they had done this deal, who knows, they might have covered for a lack of middle relief by trading the AAA shortstop later in the season.


Judging by Fermin's performance in 1995 and 1996, I am pretty sure he wouldn't have survived April in NY and Jeter would have been recalled to take his place.
   11. PeteF3 Posted: July 18, 2019 at 11:35 PM (#5863111)
If they had done this deal, who knows, they might have covered for a lack of middle relief by trading the AAA shortstop later in the season.

Judging by Fermin's performance in 1995 and 1996, I am pretty sure he wouldn't have survived April in NY and Jeter would have been recalled to take his place.


What "other HOFer" are we referring to here? If I'm following correctly, and I'm lost as to what #7 is referring to, then how do they recall Jeter to replace Fermin when Jeter is in Seattle in this scenario?
   12. spycake Posted: July 19, 2019 at 08:31 AM (#5863134)
What "other HOFer" are we referring to here? If I'm following correctly, and I'm lost as to what #7 is referring to, then how do they recall Jeter to replace Fermin when Jeter is in Seattle in this scenario?


The rumored trade from the article was future HOFer Rivera to Seattle for Fermin . The other poster observed that Fermin would have blocked another future HOFer at AAA (Jeter). And then speculated that maybe the Yankees would have traded Jeter that summer, to an unspecified team, to make up for the lack of Rivera in the bullpen -- to which I replied, there is no way Fermin would have survived that long as the Yankee SS in 1996.

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