On February 16, 2004 the Texas Rangers traded the 2003 AL MVP, Alex Rodriguez, to the New York Yankees for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later. The Yankees reportedly gave the Rangers a list of minor leaguers and they were told to select one. The Rangers made their decision, and on April 23, 2004 the Yankees sent Joaquin Arias to the Rangers to complete the trade. Arias was not the only minor leaguer on the list the Yankees gave to Texas of course one of the more interesting names to accompany Arias was Robinson Cano a 21 year old infielder from the Dominican. The rest is history as Miquel Cairo played second for the Yanks in 2004 then Robinson Cano was called up in 2005 and has put together a great career so far, but what if Texas had selected Cano instead of Arias?
If Texas would’ve kept Cano in their system and not traded him he likely would’ve been called up in 2006 when Alfonso Soriano was traded to the Nationals, and his career would’ve took off from there but how would this change have affected the Yankees? The Yankees should consider themselves lucky the Rangers chose Arias instead of Cano, because an outlook on how things could have turned out at 2nd aren’t great. The Yankees signed Tony Womack going into the ’05 season and without Cano there to force Womack off of second the Yankees may have had to live with Womack, who had his worst career year in 2005 with the Yankees. After the 2005 season there was a minimum amount of talent available at second in free agency so the starting 2nd base job possibly would have been a spring training battle between minor leaguers Andy Cannizaro, Caonabo Cosme, Kevin Escalona, Russ Johnson, and Andy Phillips. If you are interested not one of those guys are currently in the MLB or on any MLB minor league affiliate. Knowing the Yankees brass it is safe to say Brian Cashman would have made some sort of deal to get an everyday second basemen but the likelihood is still that player would not be what Robinson Cano is now. Robinson Cano now in his 6th MLB season has made strides to be a complete player; he is a top tier hitter, a top tier defender, and has demonstrated above average power.
To think only 6 years ago Cano was almost a player to be named later, thats right he could have been the PTBNL scrolling across the bottom line on ESPN when the A-Rod for Soriano deal was announced. Now the Yankees are 16-8 a season after winning their 27th title and Robinson Cano with 9 HR 21 RBI and a .387 AVG leads the Yankees in all three categories, thank you John Hart you deserve your own plaque amoung all the Yankee greats.