New York Yankees: Does Domingo German deserve a second chance?

New York Yankees, Domingo German

With the MLB off-season now in full-swing, the New York Yankees have yet to make any significant moves. They declined a couple options (Brett Gardner and JA Happ), and added a few players to their 40-man roster. However, the team is expected to make some big decisions this winter regarding their starting rotation.

In addition to Happ, incumbent starters Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton are free-agents. Both players careers in pinstripes are at risk, as the Yankees have some serious talent in-house. Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia, and Clarke Schmidt are all young stars with high ceilings looking for a starting spot. They have Gerrit Cole locked up for eight more years, and will have Luis Severino off the IL towards the middle of the season.

The other pitcher in the picture is Domingo German. After seeing brief stints in 2017 and 2018, he had the opportunity to start games in 2019 and took full advantage of it. He pitched to an 18-4 record with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.147 WHIP, striking out 153 over 143 innings.

However, German’s impressive 2019 season came to a halt when a domestic abuse case against his wife surfaced, suspending him through the 2020 season.

A lot of teams would move on from a pitcher like that right away, but over a year later, he’s still a member of the Yankees. Does he deserve a second chance?

According to NorthJersey.com, German donated to domestic assault non-profits and completed a MLB associated training and evaluation since the incident. He accepts full responsibility for the incident and no charges resulted from the incident.

On the baseball side of things, German has been playing in the Dominican Republic winter league along with teammates Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar. He pitched four no-hit innings in his first start, while tossing five, one-run innings his second start.

It all seems like positive news for Domingo German. But the question is, do the Yankees trust him enough to bring him back?

New York Yankees Analysis: Four Yankees must prove themselves in 2021 or they may be gone

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

This whole article on the New York Yankees goes on the premise that the Yankees will not make any surprising blockbuster moves, such as making moves that include pitching star Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, or securing Francisco Lindor’s services. With the extreme amount of money the Yankees lost last year and the cloudy future ahead, it is a relatively safe bet they will not be spending big. They are more likely to make minor tweaks to the existing staff.

If this scenario holds true, four New York Yankees will be in the spotlight this upcoming season. If they don’t perform, quite frankly, their days in Yankee pinstripes might be over. Those players are Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and Domingo German. I have to remind you that this is very young in the offseason, and many changes could affect these players’ outcomes.

Gary Sanchez:

The  New York Yankees and its fans have really soured on catcher Gary Sanchez even his most ardent supporters. He got so bad last season that he was actually sat down at times toward the end of the season and in most of the postseason, in favor of backup catch Kyle Higashioka. When your backup catcher is trusted more than your starting catcher, that isn’t good.

It appears, regardless of trade rumors, is that Gary Sanchez will be around in some form next season. But, if he doesn’t improve, he could be on some other team for 2022. He must prove this season that he can stay healthy in a 162 games season, improve his defense, and strike out less and become more of a contact hitter that does’ constantly chase pitches out of the zone. It is very likely that in 2021 he will find himself platooned more often with Kyle Higashioka making finding his stride even more difficult. It is good to see him playing winter ball in the Dominican; hopefully, he can improve by doing this.  The bottom line here is that the Yankees can’t have a player that hits .147 taking up room in the lineup.

Aaron Judge:

Aaron Judge is on this list for a far different reason, but it is just as concerning. Judge has immense talent that is unquestioned. The problem with Judge is that that talent is totally wasted if he can’t stay on the field; it is purely potential going unrealized. With Judge due to make some serious money, he will have to have two seasons where he remains relatively healthy to have any chance of a long-term contract. If he doesn’t, he might find himself on the chopping block.

Judge started the year at a torrid rate hitting an amazing nine home runs in just seventeen games and, at one point, a home run in six straight games for the New York Yankees. But then the injury bug that has dogged him throughout his career hit, with a calf strain. Upon his return, he injured it again, allowing him to play in less than half the games in this coronavirus shortened season. When Judge returned, he never hit another home run in the remainder of the regular season, again not allowing him to show his real worth as a Yankee superstar.

Gleyber Torres:

First, Torres most likely has fewer chances of being cut from the New York Yankees due to his young age, talent, and ability to improve. Nevertheless, he must improve. Whether he remains at short or is moved to second base, he must improve his defense. And after a very sub-par season at the plate, he must also show the Yankees he can hit again.

Torres had a far from a stellar season at short. At one point in the season, he had the most errors in baseball. After a season and a half at the position, the Yankees realize that he may not get better and have to find a way to keep the potential Yankee star in the lineup. In 2019 he had the most home runs (38) of any Yankee. He didn’t play all that well at the plate either this past season, but that is likely more of a blip in the young man’s career that he will hopefully recover from. If he doesn’t fix either of these areas, he may not be as lucky as Sanchez, who continued to receive the support that is now lacking, which may not be extended to Torres.

Domingo German:

German is still another situation. German made a horrible decision to slap his wife in public and get suspended for 81 games. Owner and Chief Operating Officer Hal Steinbrenner has already made it clear that he has to show that he is a changed man before he will be allowed to return. To make his way back to the Yankees, German impresses greatly while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. He has pitched nine innings, only giving up one run in his first two games while striking out eight.

If indeed the Yankees do take him back and surely need to help solve the Yankees pitching woes, he must perform. In 2019 he was the Yankees winningness pitcher going 18-4. The Yankees certainly could have used that this past season. If he can come close to that, he may be on the team for years to come. He is a free agent after the 2024 season. If he doesn’t perform as expected, the Yankees considering his moral baggage, may not be worth keeping him around.

The bottom line in all of this is that these New York Yankee players must improve in 2021. With Gary Sanchez, it is hard to see how he will improve after three seasons with no improvement. Torres has hope, and with Judge, much of it is out of his control; he must stay on the field. If the majority of these players can’t improve or even get worse, the Yankees may find themselves in a complete rebuild, further distancing them from another World Series win.

 

 

New York Yankees Analysis: Here’s why the Yankees must allow the return of Domingo German (discussion video)

The New York Yankees have some serious decisions to make during this hot stove season. The most important is to give Yankee pitching ace Gerrit Cole the backup he needs to be impactful after spending $324 million on the young stud. This year he pitched well but didn’t have the pitching prowess behind him to give the Yankees a winning season. Mashiro Tanaka, James Paxton, J.A. Happ, and Jordan Montgomery combined for an 8-9 record in this short 60 game season. That’s pretty miserable for a team that hopes to go to the World Series every season.

It’s obvious the New York Yankees must fix this after losing the East to the Tampa Bay Rays and then exiting the postseason early. The Yankees have a golden opportunity to correct that this coming season because they have dumped Tanaka, Paxton, and Happ by not offering them qualifying offers to render them to free agency. Now, if they keep Jordan Montgomery, who actually pitched better than his stats show, they will have three spots in the rotation to fill and possibly have a winning season.

There is scuttlebutt out there saying that the Yankees may be talking with Tanaka, trying to sign him back with the Yankees for a short contract and for far less than the $23 million they paid him last season. If they do that, he would likely be fourth in the rotation ahead of Montgomery. That leaves the Yankees with two positions to be filled. The Yankees are hopeful that they will see the return of Luis Severino sometime before the All-Star break, which will reduce the stress in the rotation in the second half.

There is also talk that the Yankees could go after a true number two pitcher in Trevor Bauer. However, with general operating partner Hal Steinbrenner saying that he wants to stay below the luxury tax threshold, it doesn’t seem likely the Yankees will blow their offseason budget on him. It seems like the answer for the Yankees is to allow the return of Domingo German. Steinbrenner has said that he will consider it if “German is a changed man.”

As we all know, German was suspended for the remainder of the 2019 season and all of this past season for an incident when he reportedly slapped his wife in public during a dinner. MLB investigated the situation and determined that he violated the MLB domestic violence protocol. To punish him for his actions, he was suspended for 81 games. With the shortened season this year, he didn’t get to pitch at all.

He seemed to say in an odd set of social media posts in a cryptic Instagram story post saying he had left baseball. A day later, he had removed the post and promised he wasn’t walking away and apologized to his Yankee fans. That and whether Steinbrenner believes he truly is remorseful for his actions and has taken therapy and is now a changed man will have everything to do with if Hal allows him back onto the team.

Why the New York Yankees must allow Domingo German to return.

  • Domingo German, even in a shortened 2019 season, was the New York Yankees’ winningest pitcher; he went 18-4, far exceeding the record of any other Yankee pitcher.
  • His 2019 wins almost eclipsed the performance of Gerrit Cole; unfortunately, he didn’t get to test his skills in the postseason, where the Yankees lost to the Astros.
  • Trevor Bauer will demand somewhere in the area of $25-30 million a year. If he returns, German will make only $575k; what a savings for the Yankees when they don’t have that much to spend.
  • Domingo German, if he returns, the Yankees have control over a Bauer-like pitcher through the end of the 2024 season, perhaps harnessing him in the prime of his career. Going into free agency in 2025, he will be 32 years old.
  • After not pitching in a professional game for 19 months, he is now pitching in the Dominican Winter League. In his first game, he pitched three scoreless innings. In his second start on Tuesday against Leones del Escogido, German conceded just one run and three hits over five innings in a no-decision for Toros in a 3-2 win at Juan Marichal Stadium in Santo Domingo, D.R.

If Hal Steinbrenner believes German is indeed a changed man and can forgive him, he could be the New York Yankees’ answer to their pitching owes. If the Yankee record means anything, there is precedent for forgiveness and a second chance. They overlooked or forgave Aroldis Chapman for a similar but worse domestic violence incident.

This writer finds all forms of domestic violence deplorable and unacceptable and realizes that baseball is as much a business as it is a sport. Money talks, and seldom does anybody walk.

 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Yadier Molina, Domingo German, and will there be a Universal DH ahead? (video)

Yadier Molina, New York Yankees

Yankees look to solve catcher problem

In a season that the New York Yankees have so many decisions to make to improve the team, the question of who will become the 2021 starting catcher is becoming less clear. Shortly after the World Series, the Yankees let it be known that they would entertain offers for catcher Gary Sanchez. It looked like Sanchez might be non-tendered, and on his way out of would be relinquishing his starting position to Kyle Higashioka or a catcher yet to be determined.

But, now on Monday on the Yes Network, manager Aaron Boone sang his praises for Sanchez and suggested that criticism of him might be unwarranted.

“I think he’s been unfairly criticized a lot,” Boone told the YES Network. “I think at times it’s over the top and people are blinded by some of the things that he’s done really well. This year was certainly a challenging year for him and a struggle for him in a lot of ways, but that’s okay.”

This statement by Boone only further clouds the situation with Sanchez. Sanchez is coming off the worse season of his career, hitting only .147 and still exhibiting his defensive ills. Near the end of the season, the New York Yankees seemed to give up on Sanchez’s continued support, replacing him at times with Higashioka even in the postseason.

Often mentioned as a short-term resolution to the Yankees catcher problem is to secure Yadier Molina, the veteran pitcher from the Cardinals, who is now a free agent for the first time in his career. To me, acquiring a veteran like Molina makes sense, even on a one or two-year deal. The surprising benefit if the Yankees keep Sanchez around, Molina might be the answer to solving Sanchez’s defensive ills.

What does Domingo German’s future look like?

The Athletic reported Hal Steinbrenner was pretty non-committal when he spoke about Germán on ESPN Radio in October, which I found pretty interesting. There’s a lot to be considered here, starting with what level of remorse and growth Germán demonstrates to the organization following his suspension under the league domestic violence policy.

He basically said that German would have to prove to him that he was a changed man. Complicating that was his erratic behavior on Twitter and a car accident involving his wife. German has not been in touch with his teammates since his suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence protocol. He has not pitched now in a major league game in 19 months.

However, all that being said, he is playing winter ball, preparing for his possible return. He was reinstated onto the 40 man New York Yankee roster. Whether he comes back or doesn’t come back, it probably won’t be a surprise to Yankees fans, some of which want him back and some don’t. Regardless of how you feel, it must be kept in mind that he was the Yankee’s best pitcher in the 2019 season, and as the video below shows, he doesn’t seem to have lost a beat in his winter games in the Dominican.

Will the Universal DH become normal going forward?

With all the unanswered questions about the upcoming 2021 season, it may cause the teams in this uncertain environment to act this offseason slowly. After the December 2nd deadline to tendering players, there may be a much-expanded list of free-agent players.

Another question that may be holding some teams back is whether there will be a continuation of the Universal DH. It seems most players in the player’s union are favorable to the idea. However, with the collective bargaining agreement now open to updating, it would not be surprising if MLBPA union President Tony Clark will want something in return for that decision. We may see expanded postseason play much like we did this year.

One thing is for sure, and that is there will be much going on with the Players Union, the teams, and the players, all looking to find their way into another baseball season.

New York Yankees: Domingo German dominant in second winter league start

The New York Yankees are currently short on reliable starters. Gerrit Cole is a bonafide ace, but James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and J.A. Happ are all free agents. Rounding out the rotation, as things stand now, are Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German, and Deivi Garcia. More depth is needed, especially if you consider the fact that Luis Severino likely won’t be pitching in the first half of the season and Clarke Schmidt could use some minor league seasoning.

That is precisely why the New York Yankees need German to put his off-field issues well behind him and perform on the mound. The right-hander was suspended for the whole 2020 season after a domestic incident put a cloud on his big league future in September 2019.

Hoping that he learned a valuable life lesson, the Yankees still haven’t dismissed German from their 2021 plans, and look eager to welcome him back as long as he behaves and shows personal growth.

Right now, German is pitching for Toros del Este in the Dominican winter league (LIDOM.) He started the season on fire, hurling four scoreless innings last Monday. And yesterday, the Yankees’ righty dominated once again.

The Yankees’ righty is dealing

Against Leones del Escogido, German conceded just one run and three hits over five innings in a no-decision for Toros in a 3-2 win at Juan Marichal Stadium in Santo Domingo, D.R.

German broke out in 2019, with a 18-4 record and a 4.03 ERA (4.72 FIP, 4.06 SIERA) in 143.0 frames with the Yankees. He struck out 9.63 batters per each nine innings.

But he slipped somewhat in the second half, and missed 2019’s playoffs after the news of the domestic violence incident came to light.

“Hopefully he puts himself back in the mix,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told the YES Network this week. The Bombers need his arm more than ever.

Yankees news/rumors: Domingo German takes massive step forward toward playing in 2021

New York Yankees, Domingo German

Remember Domingo German, that New York Yankees pitcher that finish the 2019 season with a 4.03 ERA and 38.1% ground ball rate? That guy who won 18 overall games and struck out nearly 10 batters per nine innings?

Well, I’m happy to announce that German has begun pitching again after a tumultuous 2020 where he served in an 81 game suspension for a domestic abuse issue in 2019. It was a completely justified consequence for his actions, but German is keen on returning to the MLB and alleviating any concerns over his character.

It seems as if German has done the work on himself to become a better man in person, in which the Yankees will gladly welcome him back and offer him a second chance at life.

Since his suspension commenced last year, German pitched his first game with a Toros del Este in the Dominican League on Monday night. At 28 years old, German has plenty of time left to reach his peak potential with the Yankees, and on Monday night, he showed a little bit of what he’s capable of. He finished with four hitless, scoreless innings, one walk, and seven strikeouts in his debut in the Dominican league.

His return to baseball was perfect, and with three years of control left on his contract, the Yankees are expecting him to be a key cog in their starting pitching rotation next year.

The Yankees still aren’t committed to Domingo:

Now, it is fair to mention that Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner stated what German did in his domestic abuse case was “horrific.” There is no indication of whether they will retain him or move on to greener pastures in the future, but as of right now, the expectation is that the Yankees will offer him another chance to return to baseball and become a focal point in the rotation.

Having missed the entire abbreviated 2020 campaign, German will have to work his way back up to MLB level baseball. He will undoubtedly have a rocky start, but with the expectation that the league year will return to normal in 2021, the hope is that spring training will offer him plenty of time to regain his form.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Is Domingo German the pitcher he used to be? Yes the video shows

New York Yankees, Domingo German

It’s no secret that the New York Yankees need pitching help after losing three pitchers to free agency. The Yankees failed to give any of them qualifying offers. There is much talk out there that they might engage with Masahiro Tanaka, but only if he will accept a short contract for a greatly reduced amount. If they keep Tanaka, that will give them Gerrit Cole to lead off the rotation, Tanaka and Jordan Montgomery. Obviously, they need for than that and are actively scouring the free-agent market this offseason.

The New York Yankees do have hope in the future as before the All-Star break; they hope to get back Luis Severino, who underwent Tommy John surgery this past February. But the Yankees could get even more help at the beginning of the season with the return of Domingo German, who was suspended all of last season for breaking MLB’s domestic violence protocol. Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner will entertain the idea of taking the Yankees winningness pitcher in 2019 if he truly shows that he is a changed man. It isn’t easy to know exactly what that means for Steinbrenner.

If he does decide to take German back, he might have gotten a look at how well Domingo will pitch after not throwing a ball in a professional game in over 14 months. The 28-year-old Yankees pitcher threw four hitless, scoreless innings, walking one and striking out seven for Toros del Este in his 2020 Dominican League debut last night.

This display of pitching has to be encouraging for the New York Yankees, as it doesn’t look like he had missed a beat from his 2019 season when he went 18-4 with an ERA of 4. Just like this small sample should not be used as an indicator. One season should not be considered a benchmark for future performance, but an 18-4 season is not something to disregard. His ERA of 4.03 was higher than the Yankees would like to see but is not unusual for a young pitcher that has not yet reached his prime. Many young pitchers tire as the year progresses, and their ERA often rises. German won his first three games of the season with an ERA of 1.006. His last three games would see him losing 2 of 3 and with an ERA of 4.11.

It is negative to assume that there will be future domestic problems with German. I prefer to believe he has learned his lesson and will not put his future career in harm’s way. German has the tools to become the Yankees’ next great pitcher.  He is a five-pitch pitcher with a devastating curveball, a four-seamer in the mid 90’s a  high 80’s change, a steep sinker, and a seldom-used slider.

Keep in mind that he is two years younger than the Yankee’s new ace Gerrit Cole and of the Yankee pitching staff, German is the only one to come close to Cole’s 2019 record.  German gained valuable experience from all those major-league starts last year (24) and three relief appearances.  At the end of the season, he sat at or near the top of the statistical leaderboards among American League pitchers.   All of these are reasons he should return.  From what I saw in 2019, the limelight and pressure to perform made him an even greater bet for a bright future with the Yankees. 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Oh no, Yankees could lose Luis Severino too, find out why

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees certainly have their pitching problems to solve, but it could get even worse going forward; Luis Severino might not be a New York Yankee after the 2022 season. While they are trying to solve this year’s loss of Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J. A. Happ, they might want to consider future losses as well. Severino should be back with the team about halfway through the 2021 season. When he returns, the Yankees have no way of knowing what kind of pitcher he will be after having Tommy John Surgery.

Severino, who was limited to three regular-season appearances in 2019, had dealt with forearm soreness dating back to October when he made a pair of postseason starts for the Yankees. During spring training, the Yankees shut him down; after consultation with team doctors, it was determined that he would need surgery.  At the time, Severino issued this statement:

“After much consideration, as well as consultation with the Yankees organization, my family, and my representatives, I have elected to adhere to the advice of the medical professionals and undergo surgery to repair my injured elbow. I am extremely disappointed that I will not be able to put on a Yankees uniform and compete with my teammates this year, but I promise that I will be working tirelessly during this process to come back stronger than ever to make the greatest fans in baseball proud. Thank you to everyone that has reached out during this tough time. My family and I deeply appreciate the kind words and well wishes we have received. Through the long road ahead your continued support means the world to me. I will be back on the mound soon to help bring a championship back to the Bronx!”

The surgery went well as expected; they also removed a bone spur from his elbow. Most pitchers who endure the surgery go through a rehab period of a year to a year and a half. When they return to their teams, some pitch even better than they did before the surgery. But some don’t really come back to form for a full season, and even fewer never return to the pitcher they once were.

The bottom line here is that when he returns to the team if he can by the All-Star break, the New York Yankees really don’t know what to expect. They also don’t know what to expect from Domingo German, who hasn’t pitched a live game for over a year. German’s situation is different than Severino; if German returns to his best 2019 form, the Yankees will have a quality pitcher that will earn only $575 K and is under Yankee control until 2025.

Why is the loss of Severino an important consideration for the New York Yankees?

Severino is guaranteed to be a Yankee through 2022 (he has a $15 million team option for 2023 that New York will surely decline if he isn’t back to form) and, entering his age-27 season, he doesn’t have much time to prove himself and meet those high expectations. When selecting pitching help this upcoming season, they don’t want to set themselves up for the same situation they have this offseason with the loss of several pitchers at the end of the 2022 season. If they give an unnamed pitcher and Masahiro Tanaka a two-year deal, and if Severino becomes a free agent, the Yankees will again find themselves trying to solve a three pitcher loss.

With Luis Severino being only 27 and if here returns to the form the Yankees hope for, he could be an essential part of Yankee pitching for the next decade.  Let’s look at how Severino got started and how important he is to the New York Yankees.

Yankee scouts in the Dominican Republic, took notice of Severino and invited him to the Yankee training academy. The Yankee Academy is a state of the art training facility in Boca Chica, the Dominican Republic. When he was just seventeen, the Yankees signed him as an international free agent. He was offered a signing bonus of $225k, which the Colorado Rockies matched, but Severino wanted to pitch for his childhood favorite Yankees. When he was scouted, he could throw a fastball in the low 90’s. He made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League for the Yankees, where he went 4-2 with an ERA of 1.68 in fourteen games. He stayed in the Dominican League until 2013, when the Yankees promoted him to the Charleston River Dogs. During his time with the Dogs, Severino gained strength and increased his fastball to the high nineties; he finished his first season with the River Dogs going again 4-2, this time in ten games with an ERA of 2.45.

Fast forward to the 2018 season. In the first half of the 2018 season, he recorded 14 wins before the All-Star Game, the first Pitcher to that since 1969, when Mel Stottlemyre did it. He was again selected to pitch in the All-Star game. Severino started the AL Wild Card game against the Oakland Athletics in a game the Yankees won 7-2. Severino finished the season 19-8 with an ERA of 3.39. He led all major league pitchers with an average fastball velocity of 97.6 miles per hour for the second consecutive year. At the end of the season, Severino signed a $40 million contract for four years with a Yankee option for a fifth year. That contract ends with the 2022 season.

After the Yankees acquired one of the best pitchers in baseball, Gerrit Cole, in the offseason last year, they counted on a healthy #2 ace in Severino. If Severino does turn out to be that pitcher when he returns this coming season, they are not going to want to lose him again to free agency. However, the Yankees need to prepare for that now so that their pitching is not in disarray again. Any pitcher they sign during this offseason should be either a one-year short gap pitcher like Charlie Morton or a pitcher they hope to have for at least three years like Trevor Bauer or a similar aged Jake Odorizzi, both are now 29. Unfortunately, free-agent pitchers are seldom young.

 

 

New York Yankees: Domingo German will return to the mound this weekend

New York Yankees, Domingo German

The New York Yankees are in need of reinforcements in the rotation. Gerrit Cole is the unquestioned ace, but Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and James Paxton are all hitting the free agent market. The team will have to rely on Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia, and one forgotten pitcher in the 2021 season and beyond.

Domingo German, who missed the whole 2020 campaign while serving a suspension for a domestic violence incident in September 2019, is still under contract and the Yankees, barring a huge surprise, will have some sort of role for him.

And given the fact that he hasn’t pitched in a competitive match for more than a year, any game action that the Yankees’ hurler can get is huge. German, thankfully, will get just that this weekend in the Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) with Toros del Este.

German will be the Opening Day starter for Toros on Sunday, Nov. 15. The team announced the news via its Instagram account. The pitcher, according to NJ Advance Media, commented three fire emojis under a photo of him wearing the orange and black jersey of the La Romana squad.

Major League Baseball put German on administrative leave on September 19, 2019, when the domestic violence allegations against him came out. The Yankees’ righty served 81 games in his suspension in the end.

A trio of Yankees’ will represent Toros

Besides German, Toros del Este will have Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar playing winter ball. All three need playing time badly.

New York Yankees’ owner Hal Steinbrenner still needs to see progress from German on a personal level. “Well, look, I have to absolutely feel comfortable that he deeply, deeply regrets and is sorry for what he what he did,” Steinbrenner said Oct. 13 on “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN Radio. “And I absolutely have to be comfortable with the fact that he’s turned his life around. Those two things are for sure. As far as where we go with him, I don’t know. That’s another discussion that I have to have with not just (general manager) Brian Cashman and all, but my family and we will see. But there’s no doubt he needs to prove that he’s turned his life around and that he absolutely realizes how horrific that was.”

These Yankees’ players will get some much-needed action in the Dominican league

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

A trio of struggling, high-profile New York Yankees‘ players will use the winter leagues to restore some confidence and stay in competition shape with the 2021 campaign in mind. Enrique Rojas of ESPN.com reported that Toros del Este manager Lino Rivera confirmed catcher Gary Sanchez, infielder/outfielder Miguel Andujar, and pitcher Domingo German as members of the team that will compete in the Dominican League (LIDOM.)

Andujar is expected in the Toros’ training camp on Wednesday, per Rojas. The talented hitter had a rough season with the New York Yankees in 2020, slashing .242/.277/.355 with a .274 wOBA, a 71 wRC+ and only one home run. If everybody is healthy on the Yankees’ roster come 2021, there could be no place for the 2018 Rookie of the Year runner-up.

As of now, it’s not clear when German and Sanchez will play, but according to Rivera, they will take part in the league. For Sanchez, it could mean the start of a road to redemption with the Yankees, as he had a .147/.253/.365 line with a .271 wOBA and a 69 wRC+. He did hit 10 homers, but the alarming issues to make contact and the presence of the defensively superior Kyle Higashioka resulted in the Kraken losing his starting gig come playoffs time.

German is a candidate to make the Yankees’ rotation

German had a breakout season in 2019, at least in the first half. In September, he was involved in a domestic violence case with his partner and it resulted in a long suspension. The right-hander lost the 2019 postseason and the whole 2020 campaign, but is eligible to come back in 2021.

For German, the Yankees would be happy if he gets some innings after such a long layoff. If he impresses in winter league and in spring training, he could find himself with a rotation spot in March, as the team will lose three arms in free agency: Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ.

The LIDOM is perhaps the best and strongest winter league, so having the three struggling stars getting some reps in a competitive environment is excellent news for the Yankees.