Yeah, no, thanks, Yankees, but seriously, we're good.
Yeah, we know the rotation's undermanned. Yeah, yeah, totally. We know it's tough to have high expectations for a fifth starter. Oh, for sure, for sure. We know you never give up on an arm. Yeah, definitely.
But if Carlos Rodón and Luis Severino come back, why does it feel like you'll give Domingo Germán the first crack at the fifth starter role over Jhony Brito (after Clarke Schmidt is moved to the 'pen)? Are we assuming the worst, or are we assuming a continuation of the norm, considering Germán has been given a seemingly endless leash (seven years and running, counting his suspension-absorbed 2020) after near-constant mediocre baseball?
And that suspension ... yeah, that domestic violence suspension that removed him from the 2019 playoffs and wiped his next season off the board, too. That extremely lenghty and deserved suspension. Was it worth it? Was it worth waiting that out for a 4.44 FIP in 2022, with 58 Ks in 72.1 innings, a season that was used as evidence of good performance by some fans to justify the decision?
Wrong answer. No performance, whether impressive or upsetting, was worth waiting that out. And now, the Yankees are left with a not-quite-bullpen-arm and a not-quite-starter who just keeps earning starter's reps. And it'd be nice to move on.
Yankees should move on from Domingo Germán as No. 5 starter
If you're bound to accept mediocrity out of the No. 5 spot, you might as well use someone there who hasn't clearly and plainly hit his ceiling (occasional flashes, common struggles).
At this point, Germán is exactly what he's always been. He's 30 going on 31. Last season, in a "successful" year, he reached six innings pitched five times in 14 starts. All five of those outings merited a "quality start," per the metrics. He allowed 1.4 homers per nine innings, down from 1.6 in 2021 and 1.9 in his shakier-than-you-thought 2019 season (otherwise known as the reason he's still here).
Against a terrible, young offense like the 2022 Oakland A's, he has the potential to eat innings and dominate; he nearly went eight innings of effortless shutout ball (in an eventual loss) against Oakland last year. Against good teams? He nibbles. He dabbles in finding the corners, but usually doesn't. He shies away from the plate. He got bashed by the Rays, Red Sox, Mets and Astros last season.
He had no interest in challenging the Guardians on Monday night.
So far in 2023, when the Yankees start either of their two pitchers who were always intended to be in the rotation (Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes Jr.), things tend to go pretty well! Add Brito, who's been a welcome addition to the party.
When Schmidt or Germán takes the mound? Uh...next question?
At least Schmidt is a developmental project, whose potential breakout would be very beneficial to this team. He's crafted a cutter with the intention of finally mastering left-handed hitters. So far, so bad; it hasn't worked.
What, exactly, is Germán? He's not an experiment. His ceiling is "mid-tier filler," and he comes with endless baggage. A bad Matt Krook start is a chance taken. A bad Germán start? You knew what you were getting.
It would be nice to wrap this up sometime soon. But, as the Yankees have shown for seven years running, they'd still like a little more data first.