Thursday, November 26, 2020

The German Indifference Factor...

Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II, Associated Press

Domingo German preparing for whatever comes his way…

I am not sure how I feel about Yankees pitcher Domingo German. Character is an important quality, nearly as important as talent and ability in my mind, and he lost my trust with the incident that led to his suspension. Granted, none of us know the exact details, but the severity was evident with the length of the suspension (one year). It is hard to simply embrace him because he has served his time. Aroldis Chapman served a 30-day suspension for his episode of domestic violence. I don’t want to underplay Chapman’s domestic violence, which was wrong…so very wrong, but a year-long suspension illustrates the greater severity of German’s actions. For his part, I do feel Chapman has earned his redemption. To the best of my knowledge, there have been no further reports of domestic violence for the Yankees closer. Redemption for losing last year’s final playoff game? I’ll have to get back to you on that one. For the record, I don’t blame him, but I want to see his return to late inning dominance.

The ultimate decision-maker on the topic (German), Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, is quoted as saying, “I have to absolutely feel comfortable that he deeply, deeply regrets and is sorry for what he did, and I absolutely have to be comfortable with the fact that he’s turned his life around. Those two things for sure.” I am sure German deeply regrets and is sorry for getting caught, but I am not so sure about his feelings for his actions. If someone is prone to domestic violence, it is not exactly like they roll out of bed one day and become Mr. Rogers. 

German can help the Yankees, sure, but is it worth it? That’s the question he’ll have to answer in the days and months leading up to next season. If the Yankees make the decision to trade German, I would not object. If he stays, I will try to support him. Either way, I trust Yankees management for having the full details and making the decision (does he stay, or does he go?) based on the facts as they know them.

The reports of German’s strong performances in the Dominican Winter League are inspiring but he’ll need to do more than just throw the ball well if he wants to be a Yankee again.

I’d rather see the Yankees give either Clarke Schmidt or Deivi Garcia a shot in the rotation and make a trade for a solid #2 starter to slot in behind Gerrit Cole.

George A. King III of The New York Post floated the idea this week the Yankees could bring Didi Gregorius back. Didi is unlikely to re-sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, and the 31-year-old shortstop will be looking for a new home. I respect George and I always loved Didi’s time as a Yankee (I can never say enough about the great job he did taking over for Hall of Famer Derek Jeter), but I do not see the Yankees bringing him back. I say this regardless of what happens with DJ LeMahieu. Personally, I think there are better options. I know, my dream of Francisco Lindor is equally unlikely, but there are other roads the Yankees could take. I still believe Gleyber Torres can and will improve as the team’s starting shortstop, but I would not be opposed to his return to second base if DJ does leave. 

I am pleased to see MLB has re-scheduled the Field of Dreams game for August 2021. After last season’s cancellation of the game to be played in Dyersville, Iowa, near the site where the movie Field of Dreams was filmed, I thought the opportunity had passed. Born in Iowa, I was/am excited to see my favorite team set foot on my native soil. I was a little disappointed last year when MLB tried to replace the Yankees with the St Louis Cardinals in effort to play the game during the pandemic shortened 60-game season but plans for the game were eventually scuttled. MLB could have stayed with the Cardinals as the opponent for the Chicago White Sox next season, but I am glad they returned to the Yankees as the team of choice. Of course, we are not out of the pandemic and it’s not 100% certain the game will actually be played, but I am cautiously optimistic the tide will turn early next year when the coronavirus vaccines start to make their way into the general population.

The game is tentatively scheduled to be played on August 12, 2021. If the regular season is shortened from 162 to 120/130 games, it is unknown how it would impact a ‘nice to have’ game like the Field of Dreams game.

My reaction to reports the Boston Red Sox are interested in free agent J.A. Happ…go ahead, sign him. I am done with Happ, regardless of where he goes. I generally do not like Yankees signing to play for the Red Sox, but it is not like I ever really considered Happ a true Yankee despite spending several years in Pinstripes. It hurt much more to see guys like David Cone and David Wells sign to play in Beantown after their successful tenures in the Bronx.  Happ is not and will never be in their category as elite Yankees. He pitched well at times and I am thankful for his contributions, but I moved on months ago.  

I cannot say I am disappointed the Tampa Bay Rays are losing players. Speaking of the earlier topic (character), their post-season hero last year, outfielder Randy Arozarena, was recently detained in Mexico after allegations of domestic abuse were made by his ex-partner. Arozarena will most likely be back next year unless he is suspended, but his presence on the Rays roster stains the clean image the Rays try to project. Given how MLB reacts to domestic abuse allegations, it is probable Arozarena will miss at least part of the season.

The Rays recently cut outfielder Hunter Renfroe, the slugger they acquired from the San Diego Padres in the Tommy Pham trade last off-season. Renfroe underperformed in Tampa which led to his release, but he’ll get another chance elsewhere. I wouldn’t be opposed to the Yankees making a minor investment in him. We always need back up support for Aaron Judge and I am not sold on Mike Tauchman despite his versatility. Clint Frazier, yes, but I think he should be the team’s starting left fielder.

The biggest loss for the Rays so far is starter Charlie Morton who signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves. The Rays remain solid up front with Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, but now there’s talk the Rays could trade Snell. It is inevitable they eventually will move Snell for monetary reasons, but I think we’re probably still a season or two away before it happens. Snell signed a 5-year, $50 million contract with the Rays in March 2019 so the issue will be how long can they continue to carry Snell’s contract. Success is a double-edged sword. It means the Rays will have to spend more money elsewhere to keep the team competitive. The Rays will be expecting a healthy return for Brent Honeywell to help fill Morton’s shoes. 

I always like to get on the other side of Thanksgiving. Not that I am purposely disregarding today’s holiday. I am grateful, but the arrival of December is generally the opening of the active news for the Hot Stove League. This year’s Winter Meetings in a few weeks will be different, certainly, as Zoom meetings won’t have quite the same impact as in-person meetings but there will still be a few free agent signings and trades. Will the Yankees play? I guess we’ll see on that one. I haven’t heard or seen anything that makes me hopeful the team will be able to retain any of its free agents, most notably DJ LeMahieu and Masahiro Tanaka. Then again, I haven’t seen anything that points to their respective exits. I guess we’ll know in the coming weeks.

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Next week opens the door to potential news about our favorite team as they look to arm up for the 2021 run. I can’t wait to see breaking Yankees news again. It’s been too long, and I am ready to see how Brian Cashman intends to overcome last season’s October disappointment. I am ready to close the door on the 2009 World Series Championship and celebrate a new one just like the Dodgers erased 1988 last season.

As always, Go Yankees!

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