The Yankees would prefer to have Domingo German ready to go on Opening Day, but his lengthy suspension isn’t something New York can’t handle.
Domingo German kept the Yankees’ rotation afloat throughout the first half of the 2019 regular season. The same won’t be true in 2020 after MLB made the decision to tack on an additional 63 games to the domestic violence suspension that sidelined German at the end of last season.
Plenty of teams would be powerless to deal with a lengthy suspension to a pitcher of German’s caliber. Fortunately for Yankees fans, their favorite team is well-positioned to not only survive but possibly thrive without their talented right-hander.
Brian Cashman fixed his team’s need for a bona fide ace to anchor their rotation earlier this winter with the signing of Gerrit Cole. The Yankees were already blessed with quality depth though. That depth will be tested in German’s absence, but Aaron Boone and his coaching staff have plenty of quality options to choose from.
German’s suspension could easily convince the Yankees’ front office to shelve their plans to trade JA Happ. The veteran left hander struggled mightily during the 2019 regular season, but showed signs of life during the playoffs. Originally, New York wanted to offload his salary this winter, but the organization might be convinced to give him a reprieve if they need him to fill in for German for several months.
Otherwise, the Yankees might choose to turn to one of three talented, but relatively unproven starting pitchers from inside the organization to begin the year in Boone’s rotation. Jordan Montgomery, Michael King and Deivi Garcia will all be given opportunities in Spring Training to prove they’re worthy of a big league roster spot.
Montgomery seems like the most likely option to assume an immediate place in the rotation. It’s a spot he earned during the 2018 regular season before needing to undergo Tommy John surgery. The injury cost the talented southpaw almost all of the 2019 season, but he is expected to be a full participant in Spring Training.
King is another pitcher who suffered a lost season due to injury in 2019. He doesn’t have the high-quality stuff necessary to profile as a No. 1 or No. 2 starter, but the quality of his command and secondary pitchers give him a high floor. It’s easy to envision a scenario where he catches fire this Spring and works his way onto the major league roster for Opening Day.
Garcia is almost certainly the most talented hurler of the trio, but the Yankees would prefer to keep their top prospect in AAA to begin the campaign. They won’t force him to stay in the minors if he blows away the competition in the spring, but he could use more time away from the Bronx to improve his polish and command on the mound.
No matter what choice the Yankees make, they’ve got plenty of quality waiting in the wings to replace German. His suspension isn’t good for New York, but it’s not a death knell to their hopes of winning a World Series either.