Domingo German is already a major distraction and the New York Yankees still haven’t played a single spring training game.
I’m sick and tired of talking about Domingo German.
The New York Yankees probably are too, but still have the young right-hander on the roster. After all, baseball is a business and the Yankees are in the business of winning. With no clear fifth starter, German is getting a shot at winning the job despite not pitching in MLB since 2019.
For the very few who need reminding, Domingo German was recently reinstated from a domestic violence suspension. He was put on administrative leave in September 2019 and sat out all of the shortened 2020 season. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reported he slapped his girlfriend at former teammate CC Sabathia’s charity function, and the assault continued at home.
But he’s back now, and the Yankees seem content to deal with the attached drama.
Pardon my French, but that’s a load of crap. Balderdash. Hooey. As my old man would often say in the heat of a rant, “Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.”
Even after addressing the media and his teammates, German’s mere presence is a red flag. The New York Yankees know the truth, the fans know the truth, and everybody else probably does too.
Domingo German needs to be out of the Bronx, and the sooner the better.
First of all, it’s clear German just being in Tampa right now is awkward. Not even a Ginsu knife is strong enough to cut through the tension. Just ask Zack Britton, who didn’t mince his words when asked about German.
Zack Britton on Domingo Germán's return to the Yankees:
"Sometimes, you don't get to control who your teammates are. I don't agree with what he did, I don't think it has any place in the game or off the field at all." pic.twitter.com/BjysY4XnS6
— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) February 18, 2021
Luke Voit was a little more diplomatic in his tone, but made his opinion clear.
Here's what Luke Voit said about Domingo Germán today. Presenting in this form because I believe everyone involved deserves the full context. For accountability reasons (I guess?), the last second and third questions here were mine. pic.twitter.com/6MXD0LryTg
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) February 24, 2021
Now, think of Britton and Voit’s respective roles on the team. Britton has always been a voice of leadership and is also the Yankees’ union rep. Last season, Voit became a more vocal leader while Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge were out with injuries. These are two people who have spent tons of time with Domingo German and know him well.
Baseball is a team game. The clubhouse dynamic is discussed now more than ever.
And yet, neither Britton nor Voit really went out of their way to defend German.
The Yankees don’t need him
Look, I get it. The idea of having German in the rotation is tempting. Deivi Garcia is untested. Clarke Schmidt isn’t ready. Jonathan Loaisiga is better as a reliever.
Sure, Domingo German went 18-4 in 2019, and could have been a key playoff contributor. However, he pitched to a 4.03 ERA and 4.72 FIP. To put that in layman’s terms, the man had lots of luck.
All this to say that the New York Yankees do not need German in the slightest. Deivi Garcia’s upside is enough that he deserves a proper chance at being a starter. He can’t get that without regularly taking a turn in the rotation.
And if Garcia doesn’t work out? No problem! How quickly we forget Nestor Cortes Jr. is back in camp as a non-roster invitee. He wasn’t great for the Yankees in 2019, but held his own as the bulk arm behind an opener in bullpen games. Maybe Garcia himself can serve as an opener of sorts and pair with Luis Cessa.
Also, let’s not forget another high-upside righty in Michael King. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reported the 25-year-old is working on a third pitch, so he’s automatically someone to watch this spring.
All this to say that when it comes to Domingo German, the Yankees can and should do better.
Too many distractions
Moreover, even with German giving a statement to the media on Wednesday, his presence alone has already become a circus.
Look at Britton’s comments above. German himself canceled a virtual media session on Sunday before putting out a fairly bland statement. Closer Aroldis Chapman, who served a 30-game suspension for domestic violence in 2015, then basically answered for him.
Don’t call Ringling Bros., because this is above their pay grade. There’s an elephant in the room, but not one named Jumbo or even Horton.
Enough with the circus metaphors. I’ll get to the point.
How are the Yankees supposed to win the World Series if there’s this lingering concern for whenever Domingo German goes on social media?
Again, I get it. A pitcher gets wins in the high teens and people go crazy. I was 100% guilty of getting sucked into the hype.
News flash. Wins are a meaningless stat. Domingo German only looked as good as he did in 2019 because the Yankees averaged over 6.5 runs per game in his starts. If not for that, he was average. New York has better arms with less baggage who can be the fifth starter.
Furthermore, German hasn’t pitched in a game since September 2019 and posted a horrific 7.16 ERA in five Dominican Winter League games some months back.
I’m going to say it louder for the people in the back. Domingo German physically assaulted his girlfriend and, in this writer’s opinion, hasn’t done nearly enough to show he’s now a better person. His teammates are uncomfortable, and management seems insistent on giving him another shot.
The New York Yankees have high standards. Always have, always will. Playing in the Bronx means being a winner on and off the field and not letting personal drama get in the way.
One rose-tinted season aside, Domingo German has consistently failed to live up to this standard. The New York Yankees need to get serious in 2021, and they can start by finally cutting ties with him. He isn’t that good and the potential for off-field drama isn’t worth it. Everyone from River Avenue to Great Kills knows it.
Brian Cashman, your move.