Domingo German is long past the point of being worth anything to the Yankees. And yet, odds are he’ll spend most if not all of the season in pinstripes.
German made his second start of the year in Cleveland on Monday and was once again ineffective. He pitched into the fourth inning, undone by five walks despite allowing just two runs on two hits. And to be fair, German’s bad outing isn’t what cost the Yankees in the 3-2 loss. That was a mix of Ian Hamilton’s late-inning walks and wasted opportunities at the plate.
But just the same, German will remain in New York’s rotation. At least until Carlos Rodon and/or Luis Severino are ready. And once they’re back, he could very well stay in the Bronx as the long man out of the bullpen.
Such is the state of the Yankees’ pitching depth. Or, rather, a lack thereof. Besides Clarke Schmidt and Jhony Brito, the Yankees don’t really have any young arms ready to provide big innings on short notice. This means German probably stays on the team just out of sheer necessity, and he’s out of minor league options.
It’s just frustrating because anyone who follows the Yankees, be it professionally or as a fan, knows who German is. He lucked into an 18-win season in 2019 because the Yankees averaged over four runs per game in his starts. His 4.03 ERA masked a telling 4.72 FIP.
To say nothing of the fact that German threw that career season away when he was accused of domestic violence and later suspended. That cost him the shortened 2020 season, during which he had a meltdown on social media and deleted his Instagram. Then he reactivated it before deleting it again months later. German returned to the Yankees the following year with a canned apology.
German is never going to be more than a long relief/depth arm for the Yankees. His fastball isn’t overpowering enough for him to be a reliable strikeout pitcher. His breaking pitches aren’t consistently good enough for him to be a control pitcher. He is, in a word, not good.
But because the Yankees’ staff is so injured top to bottom, especially in the minors, German stays. The team has no choice. Until the arms get healthier, it’s either German or risk overtaxing the bullpen like last season.
It’s only April and this isn’t an emergency, but the Yankees need to start planning for life without German. And the sooner the better.
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