This week MLB and the player’s union reached an agreement on a deal concerning several issues including service time and the annual first-year player’s draft. The agreement also includes a stipulation that could affect Yankees pitcher Domingo German.
Last September German was suspended indefinitely for breaking Major League baseball’s domestic violence policy. He missed the final 18 games of the regular season and was ineligible to play during the Yankees postseason run.
Entering the 2020 season German was set to serve the final 63 games of his 81 game suspension. The coronavirus pandemic forced MLB to suspend spring training on March 12th and delay the start of the regular season, but German will still have to serve his suspension. However, that’s only if there is a season, to begin with.
One of the stipulations agreed upon between the MLB and the MLB PA was if there isn’t a season this year or the season is shortened German’s suspension will not carry over into 2021. He will be free to rejoin the Yankees and he’ll be eligible to play on Opening Day next year regardless of how this season ends up playing out.
Before this deal was agreed upon and before the coronavirus put a stop to everything German would have been eligible to return to the Yankees on June 5th at the earliest. He could have started pitching in rehab games with one of the minor league affiliates on May 21st. In all likelihood, the season won’t begin by either of these dates this year and there’s really no telling if or when it will at all.
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With each passing day and week, it’s becoming more and more obvious that baseball or any other major sport isn’t returning anytime soon. Earlier this month MLB said play could begin by mid-May at the earliest but since than the coronavirus has continued to spread at a rapid pace worldwide so it’s pretty clear there is no chance that’s going to happen.
In the meantime, MLB and the player’s union reached their agreement on a variety of issues to prepare for the season as if it’s going to take place even though nobody really knows if it will. We’re all still very hopeful that we will see baseball this season, but it’s definitely getting harder to remain optimistic.
As for German, this news guarantees he’ll be eligible to play at the start of the next season, but I doubt he or the Yankees are all that focused on or worried about what the future holds in 2021.