The 2019 season was full of pleasant surprises for the Yankees. Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin, and Mike Tauchman all became significant contributors on a team that would win 103 games in the AL East. The ascent of Domingo German might have been the most important due to the Yankees lack of depth in their starting rotation. German lead the team with 18 wins, was the team’s ace, and in the beginning of the season, was one of the best pitchers in the American League.
The Yankees expected German to slow down towards the end of the season due to the fact that he had never thrown more than 123 innings and they had him on an innings limit set for him.
What the Yankees did NOT expect, was for German to be placed on Administrative Leave and to miss the rest of the season (and postseason) due to a Domestic Violence accusation. Months later, we have finally received some clarity on the sort of suspension that Domingo German is going to be serving; an 81 game suspension with time served (18) which therefore leads to German missing the first 63 games of the 2020 season.
The biggest move made this offseason was far and away Gerrit Cole signing with the Yankees for a record breaking 324 million dollars. For the first time in nearly four decades, the Yankees have the best pitcher in the American League.
The Yankees’ last Cy Young award winner was Roger Clemens in 2001. Below are the teams that have had a CYA more recently than the Yankees:
The Astros, Mets, Rays, Indians, Nationals, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Tigers, Mariners, Phillies, Giants, Royals, Padres, Diamondbacks, Twins, Angels Cardinals, Blue Jays and Athletics. That’s 20 teams!
Cole is no doubt the ace of this club and the Yankees finally have a rotation to be feared. With Luis Severino, James Paxton, and Masahiro Tanaka filling the 2-4 spots, the fifth spot has now become an intriguing discussion.
If German were not suspended, he would no doubt take the last spot in the rotation. With him out for more than a third of the season, the Yankees have an interesting decision to make.
J.A Happ was good after joining the Yankees in a trade deadline exchange in the summer of 2018. After resigning with New York for the next 3 seasons, he dropped a stinker and had a dreadful 2019 campaign. The Yankees are known to be shopping him, and teams around the league feel that Happ still has something left in the tank.
Besides the drop in performance, the Yankees are looking to deal him because they still need to open a roster spot for recently resigned veteran OF Brett Gardner in addition to cutting payroll as they have just inked the single largest contract ever given to a pitcher.
Now that German will be out a bunch to begin the season, the Yankees may not be able to deal Happ, their presumable fifth starter, until German’s return.
Frankly, I don’t think this suspension has hurt the Yankees as much as it seems, because German would still likely be facing an innings limit and instead of him missing the end of the season, he is simply missing the beginning (albeit a couple of more innings missed than he would have).
This is all assuming the Yankees keep German.
Often times, teammates will be unable to respect the offending player after a Domestic Violence charge, and a change of scenery is necessary (see Aroldis Chapman and Roberto Osuna). Additionally, the violation took place at a party thrown by than-teammate C.C Sabathia. Reportedly, many of German’s teammates were at the event.
The Yankees like to think of themselves as the standard of class when it comes to the MLB, and by cracking down on such an obvious offense, they would be demonstrating their moral strength and setting a precedent.
If German is to be dealt, look to Milwaukee to try to get him in a trade for their own controversial asset, star reliever Josh Hader.
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