John Jones | USA TODAY Sports

Yankees righty Domingo German will miss the rest of the season to enter treatment for alcohol abuse, which could mean a unique opportunity for a young New York arm: 24-year-old prospect Randy Vasquez.

Fans are already somewhat familiar with Vasquez, who has had an up-and-down year at Triple-A Scranton. He has a 4.76 ERA and 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) while also struggling with walks. Not an uncommon problem for a minor league pitcher, particularly one mastering a fastball, curveball, and changeup like Vasquez.

And yet, in three spot starts with the big league club this year, Vasquez has a 1.17 ERA. His 4.77 FIP shows he was incredibly lucky, and his strikeouts were down too, but the stuff clearly plays.

But let’s go back to that pitch mix: Fastball, curveball, changeup. The exact same pitch mix as German, who’s been reliably streaky on the mound since debuting in 2015. Might we add, Vasquez also throws a cutter and has generally more velocity across the board.

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So what does this mean for the Yankees? Probably nothing for this season. Nestor Cortes is set to return from injury and take German’s turn in the rotation, starting Saturday. Pitching prospect Jhony Brito, who is well-liked despite also struggling at Triple-A this year, is currently with the big league club and can work mop-up duty.

The 2024 season, on the other hand, is a different story. German still has one year of arbitration and the Yankees have stuck with him this long. There’s every chance that he’ll be back in the Bronx next year and general manager Brian Cashman, for one reason or another, will try to trade him for a star at the deadline.

But if the Yankees chose to cut bait and non-tender him, Vasquez can easily step into his role. Not quite a full-time starter, but not quite a full-blown bullpen arm either. Remember, despite pitching a perfect game this year, Domingo German has never quite looked fully at home as a starter. Not even when he won 18 games with a 4.72 FIP in 2019.

This isn’t to say Randy Vasquez is better. Three MLB games is too small a sample size. But look towards the Yankees’ rotation for next year.

Gerrit Cole is the unquestioned ace and has Carlos Rodon right behind him. Cortes has the middle spot with Larry David-like expertise. Clarke Schmidt keeps improving, and the No. 5 spot is probably Brito’s to lose. Who’s the emergency/No. 6 starter?

If you ask this writer, it’s Vasquez. Not only does he throw, essentially, the same pitch mix as German, but he’s probably a better pitcher. Better yet, unlike German, high strikeouts and walks per nine innings mean Vasquez has a path to becoming a reliable bullpen arm.

And not that it matters, but Vasquez probably carries less risk of off-field drama. German’s Yankees tenure isn’t littered with it, but enough has happened, particularly recently, that it can’t be ignored. He’s also 30 and past his peak.

Maybe there’s a late-season promotion in the cards, maybe not. Either way, Vasquez has enough in his arm that the Yankees should offer him a real chance next year, especially if they move on from German.

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Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.