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Stop for a second, think that everything you have known about the Yankees success — dynasty if you will — never was. Think for a second about everything you know about the Core of Four and then realize 75% of it might have never been. I know, it may sound like heresy, especially since it obviously did not come true, but still, it’s interesting to look back and go ‘Wow, what could have been.’ The implications of this could have changed the landscape of baseball as we know it.

Derek Jeter: Can you imagine if the Captain was never drafted as a Yankee? It almost happened. The Astros eventually drafted Phil Nevin with the first pick of the draft in 1992, however the week of the draft, they were considering drafting Jeter. Hal Newhouser, former Astros scout would drive 3 1/2 hours to go see Jeter play and he tried to sell the Astros on Jeter. The knock against Jeter — who had a scholarship to Michigan if he didn’t get drafted — was thought that he would request a $1 million dollar signing bonus while Phil Nevin agreed to a $700,000 signing bonus. Because of the Astros drafting Nevin over Jeter, Newhouser quit his job in baseball and never went back.

The 1992 draft had a few decent players (See: Shannon Stewart, Phil Nevin, Jason Giambi and Jon Lieber) outside of Jeter, but it is unlikely that if any of them were drafted to the Yankees, they would have been able to build a team around them similar to the way the Yankees have around Jeter.

Another thought, if Jeter was drafted by the Astros, if they had not traded him, he would have not theoretically hit the Free Agent market until after 1998 — by then the Yankees with Jeter had won two World Series and was on their way to a three peat. While Jeter growing up was a passionate Yankee fan, one has to wonder if he would have entered Free Agency in 1998 and gone straight for the Yankees. It’s hard to judge whether or not Jeter would stick with one team throughout a whole career, especially if that team was not the Yankees. I know Jeter will never admit if that situation existed if he would have went to the Bronx.

Jorge Posada: In 1995 on the heels of Don Mattingly playing his last game for the Yankees, GM Bob Watson turned his attention to Seattle’s first basemen Tino Martinez. Negotiations stalled when Seattle proposed the deal to include 6 players. Seattle was looking to send Tino, Jeff Nelson and a minor leaguer for Sterling Hitchcock, Russ Davis and Jorge Posada. Luckily for the Yankees the deal eventually was Nelson, Tino and Jeff Mecir for Sterling Hitchcock and Russ Davis.

Mariano Rivera: Later during the same offseason, the Cincinnati Reds were looking to offload David Wells. At one point, George Steinbrenner called Reds GM Jim Bowden and offered Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada for Wells. Instead, Jim Bowden traded Wells to the Orioles for Curtis Goodwin and Trovin Valdez.

In 1995, as a 25 year old starting pitcher, Mariano Rivera wasn’t as feared as he is today. He ended 1995 with a 5-3 record, 5.51 ERA, 51 K’s, 30 BB’s over 57.1 innings. It was not until 1996 did he blossom as John Wetteland’s setup man striking out 130 in 107.2 innings while walking 34. If Mariano gets traded to the Reds, one would think he would have continued starting and one could argue that he could no longer be in baseball at this point in time.

Phew, what could have been, almost scary, wouldn’t you say? One could argue that if these three aren’t on the team, that they Yankees don’t even win one World Series or even ‘Return to Glory’ like they have the last 15 years. There are a lot of ‘What ifs’ that could come from not having these three players. I won’t get into them, but as a fan, just sit back and think to yourself about how different the last 15 years could have been if all these events transpired.

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