As the Domingo German situation bubbled to a predictable head over the weekend, following Zack Britton’s reticent comments about sharing a locker room with him, the Yankees seemed to have a clear path towards extracting their growing concern.
After all, hadn’t we been sold on a suddenly-arriving pile of unparalleled depth in the Yanks’ rotation this spring?
Hadn’t we been advertised a full quiver of darts to throw at the roster wall, as opposed to two or three sure things to top the group off?
Just one injury into the young season, and suddenly, things are looking far less secure. And that’s terrible news for a team that really should be making alternate plans for German already.
Two’s a crowd, at least in the Yankees’ current predicament.
This pitching staff was certainly built to withstand the disappearance of one of its fifth starter candidates, and letting German walk — whether for a profit or at a loss — seemed to be this week’s natural outcome. A matter of when, not if, especially after the general public became privy to some of the internal details of what happened on that fateful night in Sept. 2019.
But smash cut to the loss of Schmidt — a three-to-four week shutdown which will certainly result in his absence until mid-May at least, with April serving as “spring training” — and suddenly, the depth behind the defined top four has thinned out.
The Yankees had a simple choice to make, appeared to be on the verge of making it, and then life got in the way.
Who do the Yankees have behind Domingo German?
Fitting, after they held onto German long past his expiration date for the rest of baseball anyway, huh? Gee, where’s a corrupt Mariners team president when you need him to help you pawn off an undesirable player?
Ignoring for a second the scarier ramifications of Schmidt’s injury (he’s a TJ survivor, he’d also felt elbow inflammation in summer 2019, etc.), the Yankees now have only Deivi Garcia behind German in their rotational pecking order, in terms of candidates with familiarity in the rotation.
Michael King has shown all the drive in the world to develop and rely on a third pitch this spring, but that realization came a bit too late to consider him trusted depth.
Jhoulys Chacin and Asher Wojciechowski are veteran wild cards worth taking a flyer on, but nothing more.
Without a defined line of defense, it now becomes all the more likely that German stays — especially since his trade value lies flattened on the floor.
Like it or not, Schmidt’s injury made German much more difficult to shrug off entirely.