Domingo German has left the Yankees high and dry. Usually, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But we’ll see. The timing couldn’t be worse for another reset…
Domingo German, in one fell swoop, has turned the Yankees pitching plans for the postseason upside down. Ironically, it has nothing to do with his performance on the mound. Instead, it has everything to do with an event that occurred during or just after a retirement dinner to honor CC Sabathia. What happened is anyone’s best guess.
But the bottom line is MLB has enough “evidence” or belief that “something went wrong that night” to suspend German (right) for seven days with pay, subject to further review with the possibility of additional disciplinary action to follow.
I’m not going there. But at the same time, it’s significant to point out that on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. Most of these, we can assume, are women battered by their spouse or significant other.
Nationwide, it’s an epidemic for both the Executive and Legislative branches of our government to deal with – whenever they get around to it. But that is not the case for the Yankees who have a firm date to begin the ALDS with a team yet to be determined on October 4.
Yet Another Reset Is In Order
In another instance of irony, the team had only recently reached a crossroad stabilizing their pitching staff for the postseason with the return of Luis Severino.
For Aaron Boone, with German sure to be gone for at least the postseason, it’s back to square one in organizing his rotation, and possibly even his bullpen.
On the surface, German’s suspension goes in the books as a player on Administrative Leave, but in real terms, it’s just another player joining the ranks of those on the injured list who need to be replaced.
The sting of the circumstances revolving around German won’t stop the Yankees from making adjustments. As a stopgap, the team added Michael King, who has yet to make an appearance in a major league game this year, to their 40-man roster. But that is merely a pebble thrown into the pond.
Suddenly, both J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia appear to become vital necessities as a possible fourth starter, following James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and Severino. But the playoffs are a whole new ballgame from the regular season.
Don’t Forget The Bullpen
The ALDS is a five-game series in a 2-2-1 format with two off-days in between. This raises the possibility of Aaron Boone turning to the Core Five in his bullpen for extra duty while still providing the team with adequate rest between appearances.
That scenario would look something like this. CC Sabathia, for instance, is called on to provide what has now become his maximum effort of three or four empty the tank innings.
He would then be followed by (in no particular sequence) by Chad Green, (right) Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Zach Britton, and Aroldis Chapman – each for one inning of work.
In-game circumstances anywhere along the ALDS will likely cause Boone to make adjustments, depending on how far Paxton, Severino, and Tanaka go in their starts.
But the point is there is extensive flexibility for Boone and the Yankees in how he employs the entire staff. To a lesser degree but still available, the Yankees have the same arsenal of choices in the seven-game ALCS and World Series.
Domingo German: A Career In Limbo
Domingo German, like the Cubs Addison Russell, Jose Torres, and yes even Aroldis Chapman (30 game suspension in 2016), will carry the stain of the accusations with him, as well as the impact on his team and teammates.
Yet to be considered is the hardship and torment he has caused for the victim and his family (which includes a child).
In German’s case, the investigation is still underway, and no formal charges have been made. There is also no record of a police report. But, it is noteworthy that both MLB and the Player’s Association are teamed together in evaluating the accusation as reliable and believable.
As these things go, when the bell rings on October 4, the Yankees will take the field to wrap a bow around the spectacular season they’ve had. German’s absence will be duly noted in the same sentence by TV analysts along with Aaron Hicks, Mike Tauchman, and possibly even Gary Sanchez.
And then, the final chapters of the Yankees season will be written and told. But the resilient Yankees will have the last say…