But even within such a hierarchy, Britton doesn’t have an influence on team personnel, something he made abundantly clear with his comments on Thursday.
Domingo German, who hasn’t pitched in a Major League Baseball game since his late-2019 suspension under MLB’s domestic violence policy, will ostensibly be returning to the Yankees this spring.
He’s entered the competition for the fifth starter spot, and though the team has reportedly addressed his behavior and what will be required of him moving forward, Aaron Boone confirmed on Wednesday that they have no plans for him to address the full roster.
Britton spoke out in the wake of Boone’s remarks, and laid bare what he thinks of his teammate, an assessment that certainly changed in a hurry that September.
Does German owe an apology to Britton and the bullpen? No, not exactly. But if it were up to the lefty, he probably would’ve opted out of being his teammate.
A tough question, but Britton certainly didn’t hold back.
Britton is a clubhouse leader and a vocal advocate for a fierce examination of the way baseball, as a whole, treats women; one need only look at his visceral online reaction in the wake of the Jared Porter scandal. But it doesn’t appear as if he’s speaking out of turn here, or alone.
How can the Yankees justify holding onto Domingo German?
German himself isn’t entering spring training with a particular level of stability.
On Wednesday night, he cleared out his entire Instagram account while posting what could be interpreted as a farewell message.
Rumors swirled that “MV” are the initials of his domestic partner, and this could’ve been unrelated to baseball, but it’s not the first time he’s used the social platform erratically. An hour or so later, everything had been returned to its previous state.
Only the Yankees and Major League Baseball know the full extent of what German did on that day in 2019, and even those two parties likely don’t know what he’s been dealing with mentally ever since.
We’ve seen what appears to be a breakdown in fits and spurts, playing out on social media, since at least last summer.
If German’s reported behavior can be confirmed by those in the clubhouse, it would follow that maintaining a level of decorum over the course of a 162-game baseball season would be quite difficult.
It’s not Britton’s job to reckon with these forces, but he clearly believes his teammate — not by choice — has plenty more to smooth out before his conscience is clean.