15 free agent (and trade) near-misses that would've changed Yankees history
Mariano Rivera-David Wells Trade/Felix Fermin Trade, 1995-96
The only unanimous Hall of Famer in baseball history was almost traded multiple times prior to the start of the Yankees dynasty. Who knows how many titles the '90s team wins without Mariano Rivera at the back end, erasing multiple innings at a time in every crucial playoff game?
It is NOT EASY TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES OR CLOSE THE WORLD SERIES. Rivera, himself, fumbled away the 1997 ALDS, 2001 World Series and 2004 ALCS, and he's the greatest closer to ever live. Imagine someone with a less lethal pitch trying to do it from '96-'12? Imagine (gasp) the Yankees mixing and matching in the role?
While Rivera rested a shoulder injury during the summer of 1995, Yankees GM Gene Michael nearly swapped him for David Wells of the Detroit Tigers; Boomer later found himself in New York anyway under much better circumstances. Again the next spring, when Derek Jeter was ticketed for the starting shortstop job but no one was quite sure he was ready, George Steinbrenner and Co. nearly dealt Rivera again, this time to the Mariners for also-ran Felix Fermin.
Steinbrenner was reportedly "pushing hard" to swap either Rivera or Bob Wickman for Fermin, while Brian Cashman and Joe Torre spent hours talking him down. The trade dissolved, and Fermin played 11 more big-league games, all for the 1996 Cubs. He hit .125.