Did the Yankees really think carrying Domingo German as their rotational “depth” option to back up Luis Severino and Jameson Taillon was a wise decision?
On the one hand, German doesn’t hold a candle to Severino in talent and can’t match Taillon’s consistency, but on the other, he was out for the vast majority of the second half of 2021 with shoulder inflammation. So who could’ve seen a shoulder impingement that landed him on the 60-Day IL to start 2022 coming?! Everyone other than the people responsible for sniffing it out, it seems.
According to Aaron Boone and the Yankees, German actually feels well enough to throw at the moment and continues to assure the team brass that he’s on the mend. The issue, though, is that his throwing program essentially begins now, and with a roster spot in need of clearance, German was an obvious choice.
The issue wasn’t German’s unavailability. The issue was that the Yanks somehow thought the volatile German would be their steady backup plan. Last season, German was elite in goading opposing hitters into chasing pitches out of the zone, but often surrendered hard contact when his pitches floated into swing paths. The Yankees can and should do better.
So … he’s out. Predictably. For quite a while. How do the Yanks reassess? They hadn’t really prepared for this test, for whatever reason.
There are a few internal replacements who come to mind. There’s precious little on the free agent market. And, most importantly, there are a couple of lingering high-profile trade targets, either of whom would provide much more than just “innings” … if that’s a direction thee Yankees feel comfortable going in. Will every prospect be a Yankee prospect forever? Did trading Roansy Contreras re-scar Brian Cashman for life? It’s worth wondering.
For now, these are New York’s most viable options for thickening out the rotation in April and May. Apologies to free agents like Cole Hamels, who are just as unreliable as German at this juncture, someone who is literally out for months.
Yankees could use these 4 replacements for Domingo German
5 and 4. Deivi Garcia/Clarke Schmidt/The Equivalent
We’ve balled up the Yankees’ internal options into a combination of these two, and the conversation doesn’t go far beyond them. As interesting as it would be to see Ken Waldichuk or Hayden Wesneski get the bump every five days, that’s not a realistic desire, even as both men get some shine this spring.
In most years, the Yankees will have imported a somewhat-familiar name as a minor-league contract flyer at this point. Remember Asher Wojciechowski? This season, not so much; most of their minor-league attention has been paid to veteran position players like Ender Inciarte and Marwin Gonzalez.
So, it’s Deivi Garcia or Clarke Schmidt, per our estimation. Garcia’s 2021 season must never be spoken of again, after he was the clear highest man on the totem pole less than a year prior. Despite several strong starts during the summer of 2020, a poor outing against the Red Sox at the end of the campaign pushed his ERA up to 4.98. In ’21, things didn’t go according to even the most modest of plans; Garcia lost the plate and ended up with an unsightly 6.85 ERA in 90.2 innings pitched, completing the hideous picture with 68 walks … at Triple-A!
Schmidt got the Scranton Shuttle treatment in 2021 after a long wait and some bad injury luck when he tried to ramp up too early in Spring Training. Ultimately, in 6.1 innings (two outings, one start), he posted an ungodly WHIP of 2.526 after being tossed into an unpleasant situation.
Whether you believe the recent body of work is fair or unfair as an assessment of these two players is up to you, but New York should probably do better to secure these missing innings.