The Yankees or anyone else alive and breathing today can’t be surprised by MLB’s 81-game suspension of Domingo German. But it’s still not settled…
Yankees starter and eighteen-game winner in 2019, Domingo German, hopefully, is counting his blessings that he is not sitting in a jail cell as the fate you or me might be subject to for an admitted act of domestic violence.
Tellingly, German did not challenge the 81-game suspension without pay levied by the Supreme Court of baseball, MLB.
German will have to jump through a few hoops for a while that amount to “community service,” but the Yankees will have a job waiting for him when he becomes eligible to play again on June 5 when the Yankees face the Tampa Bay Rays.
Yankees: Who’s next, Jeurys Familia – Addison Russell?
This makes the second time the Yankees are turning the other way in cases where one of their players has been involved in an instance of domestic violence.
The first occurred when the Dodgers were locked in a battle for the services of Aroldis Chapman. The Dodgers said thanks but no thanks while the Yankees scooped Chapman up – and the rest is history.
The Yankee’s stance on the issue speaks for itself. Not surprisingly, Brian Cashman went out of his way to state that MLB prohibits him from commenting on the German case – proclaiming in today’s New York Daily News that:
“We remain steadfast in our support of Major League Baseball’s investigative process and the disciplinary action taken regarding Domingo Germán. Domestic violence — in any form — is a gravely serious matter that affects every segment of our society.”
Except, of course, when it touches home and the most storied franchise in baseball.
Bringing it home to baseball
Nevertheless, the Yankees are a baseball club and not the U.S. Congress – and it’s time to move on with an eye to how German’s loss affects the Yankees as we move back to baseball.
If not for the suspension, it’s a foregone probability German would have been inserted as the fifth starter in the Yankees rotation, behind Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and Luis Severino.
Now, with German’s absence until June, J.A. Happ suddenly emerges from the scrapheap and trade bait Cashman has been trying to unload – mostly due to the $17 million Happ is owed – and the direct hit it has on the Yankees push on the luxury tax threshold.
It’s not like Happ has done anything wrong since he came over to the Yankees from the Toronto Blue Jays. 19-8 over two seasons and over 220 innings is precisely what the Yankees were looking for in their rotation. It’s just the damn money…
That’s money the Yankees will not have to spend if they delegate the spot in the rotation to Jordan Montgomery, who is on the rebound from Tommy John and past success with the team before injury took hold of his fledgling career.
Beyond these two, that Yankees have as many as four prospects they can turn to, including the much-heralded Deivi Garcia. But why go there when Happ and Montgomery quickly fill the void created by German.
Yankees depth will carry the way
The overall impact of German’s suspension appears to be a lessening of Cashman’s attempts to unload Happ unless the Yankees remain convinced Montgomery has the regained arm strength to carry the load.
Spring Training will complete the story, but it’s more than likely the Yankees will pull Happ off the market for now unless one of those offers Cashman can’t refuse comes along until the July trade deadline.
But that shouldn’t be the end of the story
As for German, the Yankees are remiss in not setting a precedent by tacking on an additional team suspension, carrying German to the All-Star break.
The Yankees have the power to do that, and the team should exercise it – and not very quietly.
The echos must reverberate from the Yankees clubhouse on down to the lower levels of their minor league system – explicitly requiring that a New York Yankee does not engage in any form (verbal or physical) of domestic abuse.
If we believe in the American value that no person is above the law –
Then the Yankees owe it to this fan, and hopefully, many others, to demonstrate their moral consciousness in a direction far removed from prohibiting facial hair on their players…