New York Yankees: Why It Makes More Sense for Domingo German to Take 2020 Off

New York Yankees, Domingo German

When the 2020 season was scheduled to start, New York Yankees fans knew not to expect starter Domingo German for at least half of the season. He still has 81 games to serve as part of his suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy.

That was BEFORE the Coronavirus rocked the entire planet.

Now we’re in May, and it’s making less and less sense for German to pitch at all this year should a season starts at all.

He Still Has to Serve 81 Games

The rulings against AJ Hinch, Jeff Lunow, and Alex Cora from Commissioner Manfred’s office all clearly outline that those three men can get jobs in baseball again AFTER the 2020 season. Should the 2020 season get canceled this year, that would mean they can get work again as early as November when the offseason would officially begin.

German, however, still has a defined number of games to serve in suspension.

So let’s all be optimists and assume that a baseball season will happen in one way or another this season. We’re on May 4th right now. The Yankees would have a scheduled off day and have already played 35 games. Baseball is determined to have some shortened Spring Training to get teams ready before starting a season.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: 2020 is going to be a shortened season. The league isn’t going to play 162 games, then its regular postseason. They’d stand no shot, especially with reports from the CDC that a new wave of COVID-19 will come by the fall. This means that if play were to resume tomorrow for the New York Yankees, they’d have 127 games left on the schedule.

So, if the earliest the shortened Spring Training were to happen is Memorial Day weekend, to have a first game of the 2020 season on June 1st, that’s 25 fewer games, leaving only a 102 game season. With the threat of no minor league season, there’d be little to no chance for German to have warm-up games to get himself ready to pitch this season at all. And what would be the point? 81 out of 102 games leaves just 21 games left in the season.

And with no official start date for this modified Spring Training, it’s impossible to estimate just how many games will be played this season at all. For the sake of the season, just have German sit out to come back strong for Spring Training 2021. You’re not going to expect him to make his first outing of the year during a playoff game, Happ’s contract is up after this year, Tanaka’s contract is up after this year, just bench him all season and see about next year.

Early Take Aways From Yankees Spring Training

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Boone

The Yankees are currently 0-2, but it’s still Spring Training. The record won’t count against the Yanks come to Opening Day, so no one needs to panic… yet. While we’re still young in the Spring Training schedule, here are some early storylines to watch as scrimmage play continues.

Andujar Off to Hot Start He Needs

As I repeatedly stressed, the battle for third base is far from decided. What Urshela and Andujar do this spring will determine who our opening day third baseman is. Urshela is currently hitless. Andujar has only one hit, but it’s a home run. I’ve continually stressed that Urshela needs to show last year wasn’t a fluke offensively if he wants playing time. And if Andujar can show even a 20% improvement defensively from 2018, while outhitting Urshela, it’ll be a tough call to justify keeping Urshela as the opening day starter at third.

Happ Looks Good

The Yankees will need to get creative to fill the void between now and June when we’ll get German and Paxton back. While I still believe it was a mistake hanging on to JA Happ, his 2 scoreless innings with 3 K’s is helping to feed some optimism.

Cessa and Loaisiga Make Strong Cases for Starter Spot

I don’t want to think about another season without Luis Severino, but it seems likely to happen. So, with both Cessa and Loaisiga looking strong in their innings of work, it’s hopeful to think one of them will leap up to be a viable, long term, option in the rotation.

The Injury Bug is Back Again

The Yankees were besieged by injuries last season. How they managed to pull off over 100 wins is still impressive by all stretches of the imagination. But it would appear that the injury bug is back.

Judge, Paxton, Severino. These are three names we did not want to see experiencing any kind of pain/injury before scrimmage play began. Judge’s shoulder seems to be healing. He has been able to start throwing, and is starting to hit. If he experienced no further discomfort, we’ll see him in right soon enough.

Word is still inconclusive about how long Severino will be out, or just how bad the problem in his forearm/elbow is. The perplexing dilemma about Sevy is the discomfort is coming when he throws his changeup, not his fast OR curveball. Hopefully, we’ll start March with some good news.

Paxton may be able to rehab early enough in the year to return by May. Should Paxton’s recovery be that fast, coupled with German coming back by June, the Yankees are poised to have a lethal and very fresh rotation down the stretch in September?

 

Recaps will continue every Monday, as performances, storylines, and news develop for the start of the Yankees 2020 season.

Ex-Yankee Pitcher Weighs in on Astros

Current New York Yankee players have plenty to be ticked off about, as they were victims of the Astros in 2 separate seasons. But that doesn’t stop former Yankees from feeling equally cheated.

David Robertson Chimes In

In 2017, Robertson was traded back to his original team from the Chicago White Sox, along with Todd Frazier. Robertson was brilliant in his return to the Bronx, giving up 4 runs in 30 games down the stretch for the Yanks. He was as good that October, giving up 2 over 11 innings of relief.

But then came Game 6 of the 2017 ALCS. I’ll let him sum it up, in this excerpt from Mollie Walker of the NY Post:

“I got roughed up in Game 6,” Robertson said. “And I felt like in that game, I threw as well as I’ve ever thrown in my entire life. I had some pitches that got hit that I was a little shocked by and some pitches that didn’t get swung at that I was a little shocked by. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about what we know now. But it all comes together now and, you know, I’m upset about it, that’s for sure.”

Robertson could not retire any of the 4 men he faced that night.

Asked for his thoughts on the mastermind behind the operation, Carlos Beltran, Robertson has this to say about his former teammate:

“I always respected him as a player, especially being a veteran player on our team when I got a chance to play with him in New York,” Robertson said. “I enjoyed the way he played and the way he went about his business. He’s got to live with it.”

David Robertson is currently in year 2 of a 3 year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Reunited with former manager, Joe Girardi, Robertson hopes to come back strong in 2020, after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2019.

Should the New York Yankees be Concerned About Matt Blake Already?

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

Spring Training doesn’t begin till next week, but questions already surround the New York Yankees pitching staff. And when James Paxton and Domingo German each return to the Yankees around the All-Star game (realistically), how do you get them to bring their A-game right out the gate, after not pitching most of the season? This is where Matt Blake’s inexperience could bite him, and the Yankees, in the butt.

Don’t Think Analytics Makes Him Better Than Rothschild

I felt Larry Rothschild wasn’t as good of a pitching coach as everyone wanted you to believe. When the bullpen was right, the starters were off, and vice versa. Look at last season. There were painfully long stretches where our starting rotation was garbage, and our bullpen was what kept us in the game. Then, when the bullpen was able to rest because the starting rotation got itself right, the key players in the pen before Otta, Britton, and Chapman floundered.

Part of what sold Gerrit Cole on coming to the  New York Yankees was Matt Blake’s sales pitch about his analytical approach to helping pitchers pitch better. If you don’t think Larry Rothschild didn’t have that same information, you’re in denial. Spin rate on a breaking pitch isn’t going to help Tanaka get through 5 on a day he just doesn’t have it. And he’s been losing it more and more as his career in pinstripes progresses.

How Much Will the Other Pitchers Accept Blake’s Approach?

Part of Blake’s success is going to be how much the other pitchers respond to Blake’s coaching. Cole is open to it, and Montgomery is probably going to take what Blake is teaching and run with it. But what about Severino, Tanaka, Happ, and Paxton? Just because he’s their coach doesn’t mean what he teaches them is going to work for them. Mariano Rivera isn’t shy about admitting then pitching coach, Mel Stottlemyer, tried to get him to abandon the cutter. Happ is about 5 years older than Blake, and seen success. Who’s to say Happ doesn’t lead a revolt against neglecting Blake’s coaching the first sign things look bad for our fragile rotation? Who’s to say Blake’s teaching doesn’t result in Cole needing Tommy John? As I said, we’re already down 2 in the rotation. And when they get back, how fast can Blake get them up to speed?

All of the questions that STILL surround the Yankees rotation may be too much for this 34-year-old. I hope it doesn’t, but, let’s just see.

New York Yankees Ask Domingo German to Stay Away From Spring Training

New York Yankees, Domingo German

With the first Spring Training games set to take part next Saturday, one notable face will be missing from the New York Yankees. And that’s suspended pitcher, Domingo German.

German Asked to Stay in the Dominican Republic

In a piece from Brendan Kuty for NJ.com, Aaron Boone was asked about Domingo German:

“I went over there a few weeks ago with a few of our staff members and got to see a few of the guys, and Domingo is one of the guys who came to the complex. I got to see him for the first time since all of this has gone down, and talk to him. The plan is for him not to be here for spring training, as of now. That could change, but right now we’re not planning on him being here.”

I think this is, personally, an intelligent decision by the Yankees. Yes, German hasn’t been convicted of a crime. But the specter of domestic abuse still lingers over German in the court of public opinion. Keeping him at a Yankee facility in the Dominican, where he can get his work in that he’d get in Tampa under surveillance from New York Yankees officials, it’s strictly damage control for the team as they make sure everyone gets on the same page before Opening Day.

When asked about if German would be a distraction in the clubhouse when he comes back, Boone said this:

“Not worried about the distraction part. I think as an organization, we kind of decided for him it’s best for him to be there right now.”

German will be serving the final 63 games of an 81 game suspension when the season begins at the end of March. With a few tune-up games, German should be back on the Yankees late June or early July.

Where Does Jordan Montgomery Fit in the 2020 Yankees?

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

New York Yankees fans, including myself, were happy to see Jordan Montgomery return from Tommy John last season. But, it was a very short-lived return. He threw only 4 innings, with a 6.75 ERA. It wasn’t great. Now, with a stacked rotation, and Brian Cashman throwing his full weight behind JA Happ as the number 5 man in the rotation, just where does Monty fit in on the team?

Stop Gap for German

Domingo German is suspended through June. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Happ can be traded by June, clearing a spot in the 5 man rotation for Monty to stay in the rotation when German comes back from (obviously) a couple of tuneup starts in the minors. But you still have to fill the void between Opening Day and German’s return from suspension. I’m completely against openers, especially with how we saw the bullpen implode at the worst possible time last season (the ALCS). And with the new rules about “You have to face 3 batters, if you’re not the guy who gets the final out of an inning”, the Yankees should steer clear of an opener during German’s suspension.

Long Man in the Pen

One of the confusing parts about the use of Chad Green as an opener was that they only had him throw one inning. We know he’s capable of at least 2. If we’re going to go with the opener, why would we empty our pen every 5 days, why would we not use Monty and Cessa as a tag team for the opener days? Monty throws 3 innings, Cessa throws 3 innings, then Ottavino, Britton, Chapman. That way, we develop a couple of you g, controllable future fixtures in the starting rotation, while keeping our arms in the pen fresh, and we’d have 2 long men out of the pen, which helps us in the situation where we get blown out.

Option Him to Scranton

He has a couple of options left, like Andujar. He could start the season at AAA, then get called up. But, AAA hitters aren’t Major League hitters. Monty could slay for the Rail Riders, but get shellacked on the big club. We know Monty is a major league caliber pitcher, he should start on the big club. It’s just anyone’s guess where he’ll end up.

Albert Abreu May be the Yankees Best Bullpen Option

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees have been tied to offseason trade talks with pitchers the most this offseason. We landed the biggest pitcher on the market, Gerrit Cole, and for weeks we’ve been speculating on whether or not the Yankees will finally trade for Josh Hader from the Brewers. But if the Yankees are desperate for relief pitcher help, most of the answers would be found in our farm system.

Albert Abreu Has an In

Deivi Garcia seems to have the makings of a future starter in baseball. Starting as a long reliever would help him make the transition from minors to the bigs makes the most sense. But the other pitcher who we hear spoken about with almost the same intensity is Albert Abreu. So why would Abreu make more sense as a permanent reliever than Garcia?

For starters, Garcia has more than double the strikeouts to innings pitched in the minors for his career, with 45 over 40 innings at Scranton this past season. While Abreu almost had as many strikeouts as innings pitched at Trenton, Garcia had a much better WHIP, and a lower ERA, which would lead one to conclude Abreu is losing his effectiveness the more he sees a lineup.

Make no mistake, I’m not saying that Abreu will be ready for the show next season, I think he’ll be more ready as an opening day reliever by 2021. But, if he’s doing well enough, and a pitcher in the pen goes down (which will happen, though let’s pray it’s not nearly as many as last year), Abreu could get the call to fill in. The sooner we see what the kid has, the better.