The Yankees face a lot of questions about their starting rotation in 2020. One of the biggest mysteries is what they can expect from Domingo German.
Domingo German’s suspension due to domestic violence was a big issue for the Yankees in the 2019 playoffs. At the moment, it’s also causing Brian Cashman and his front office a lot of issues as they prepare for free agency.
The organization expects to final ruling from MLB regarding just how much time German will miss in 2020 in a “matter of weeks.” League officials have conducted interviews to determine what happened between the Yankees pitcher and the mother of his child. The situation is complicated by the lack of a police report. Nonetheless, the Yankees do expect German’s suspension to extend into the 2020 regular season.
The length of the suspension is still very much up in the air. German’s representatives will likely ask for the games he missed last season to be factored into any decision about next year. It’s still impossible to know just how long the Yankees’ starting rotation will be without last season’s most consistent starter.
While it’s possible the Yankees will try to move on from German altogether in the offseason, it’s unlikely they can get fair value for him due to his suspension. As such, it’s reasonable to think he’ll be a part of Aaron Boone‘s team again in 2020. All of the uncertainty swirling around him does make it very difficult for team officials to plan who else will join him in the starting rotation.
German’s status doesn’t really change the front office’s standing on chasing potential aces like Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg. It does, however, greatly influence what the Yankees might do to round out the middle of their rotation.
Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton will almost certainly return to take up two of the five spots in Boone’s rotation. The remaining three spots are very much up for grabs. JA Happ seems like a favorite to bounce back from last year’s sub-par season to grab the third spot in the rotation. That leaves two spots very much up for grabs if New York is unable to land a bona fide No. 1 starter.
Jordan Montgomery will get his shot to stake a claim to one spot in Spring Training. He missed almost all of 2019 recovering from Tommy John surgery. Organization insiders like the way he threw the ball late last year and believe he can be a quality starter in 2020.
After that, the potential solutions get much more difficult to project. If German is healthy and eligible he should be in line to grab a big chunk of starts next year. If he can’t be counted on, the Yankees may be forced to add two starters instead of simply shopping for one elite arm.
The bottom line is that Cashman and his front office need to learn German’s fate as soon as possible to efficiently address the rotation this winter. Until his final suspension is determined, the team will be forced to engage in some costly guesswork.