There should be no doubt in anybody’s mind that Robinson Cano is the best player that the New York Yankees currently have on their roster. He provides a solid bat, and tremendous defense at second base. It’s really hard to think where the Yankees would be without him. Believe it or not though, there once was a time where the Yankees almost traded Cano away.
The year is 2004, and the Yankees are coming off of a year in which they lost to the Florida Marlins in the World Series. It was a crushing defeat, and there was no doubt that George Steinbrenner wanted to make a splash in effort to take people’s minds off the fact that they lost to the Marlins. The question then was, how can the Yankees make a big move?
Enter our good friend, Alex Rodriguez.
With just a few weeks to go before Spring Training of 2004, the Yankees and Texas Rangers struck a deal which would send Alex Rodriguez and cash to the Yankees in exchange for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias. It instantly grabbed headlines all throughout baseball.
But where does Cano fit into all of this?
As it turns out, while trade talks were going on between the two teams, the Yankees had given the Texas Rangers a list of players that could be added onto the deal along with Soriano. Among the names on the list was Robinson Cano, a young second baseman playing in the Yankees minor league system. At this point, Cano wasn’t considered a top prospect for the Yankees. Nobody even really saw much of a future in Cano.
The fact is, at the time, Cano was expendable to the Yankees. They figured that if the Rangers chose to take Cano instead of Arias, then the Yankees would tread water at second base for a year or two and then call up Gabe Lopez, who was putting up some good stats in the minor leagues. The Yankees had such little faith in Cano at the time, that they really wanted the Rangers to pick him instead.
When the Rangers opted to take Arias, scouts throughout baseball had agreed that Texas had made the right decision. Arias was a top prospect for the Yankees at the time, and was projected to become a solid player in the majors.
Oh how wrong they were.
Arias never bloomed into the player that people expected him to be, and has spent time with a few different teams. He currently finds himself with the San Francisco Giants as a utility player. Cano on the other hand, well, we all know what happened with him.
But, this was not the only time Cano was almost traded. He has also found his name thrown around over the years in trades for players such as Troy Glaus, Randy Johnson, Freddie Garcia, Russ Ortiz, and even Matt Kemp. In regards to the Garcia trade, the Yankees had actually offered Cano to the Seattle Mariners along with a few other prospects. The Mariners turned them down and went on to trade Sweaty Freddie elsewhere. Bet the Mariners are kicking themselves over that one, right?
This all shows just how lucky the Yankees truly are to have Robinson Cano on the team. There were so many opportunities for him to be sent to a different team, but they all fell through one way or another. Cano has done so much so well, and hopefully the Yankees remember that when he hits free agency after the season.