In the wake of Jorge Posada’s retirement following an 1,829-game career spent entirely with the Yankees comes a story about how he was almost traded to the Mariners as a prospect way back in 1995.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times has the details:
Management deemed that they couldn’t afford Tino Martinez, so he was on the trade block. GM Woody Woodward focused on the Yankees, who needed a first-base replacement for retiring Don Mattingly. Posada at the time was a 23-year-old catcher who had spent the ’95 season at Triple-A Columbus. For Columbus, he had hit .255 with eight homers and 51 RBIs, striking out 101 times in 108 games. … Posada was a well-regarded prospect, nothing more, nothing less.
According to a story by long-time Mariners beat writer Bob Finnigan in the Seattle Times on Dec. 4, 1995, the Mariners nixed a trade that would have sent pitcher Sterling Hitchcock and Posada to the Mariners for Martinez and a reliever, either Jeff Nelson, Bill Risley, or, wait for it, Bobby Ayala. The same report of a nixed trade that would have sent Posada to the Mariners was in the New York Times and New York Daily News.
Stone goes on to say that the primary reason the Mariners backed out of the trade is that the Yankees insisted on including Posada instead of Seattle’s preferred target, Russ Davis. That changed a short time later when the Yankees signed Wade Boggs to play third base, making Davis expendable, at which point they traded him to the Mariners with Sterling Hitchcock for Tino Martinez, Jeff Nelson, and Jim Mecir.
And that 23-year-old prospect named Jorge Posada stayed with the Yankees and became one of the 20 best catchers in baseball history.
It turns out Seattle had a pretty good long-term answer behind the plate in Dan Wilson, but those star-studded teams of the late 1990s and would have been even more dangerous with Posada in a lineup that also included Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez, and Jay Buhner.