It’s been a troubling past week for the New York Yankees. For a team that has sorely disappointed their passionate and expectant fanbase by sitting in last place in the AL East and not making any significant deadline moves, the recent news of Domingo German and Anthony Rizzo magnified the severity of this team’s situation.
It broke before New York’s Wednesday night game that Domingo German had been placed on the restricted list, seemingly ending his season for good due to the nature of an incident he had. The incident itself is a serious issue as it was reported by SNY’s Andy Martino that German was, “belligerent while in the clubhouse at Yankee Stadium,” and then later followed up with additional information concerning German being intoxicated and in a bad state.
The career of Domingo German has now cemented itself in baseball history as one of the most topsy-turvy of all time. He served a domestic abuse suspension in 2019, threw one of the more conflicting feeling-perfect games this year, and followed it up shortly after with this season-ending suspension. From an objective point of view, German obviously has the talent to shine on a mound. He’s got a fantastic arsenal featuring a powerful sinker/curveball combo that yields one of the highest chase rates in baseball. The point though doesn’t lie in German’s talents. He’s revealed his true character now many times over with his suspensions, and one should wonder if domestic and alcohol abuse should be promoted to young fans just because he can pitch well. The Yankees feel that this latest incident was enough to sideline him for the rest of this season, and it’s looking very unlikely that they’ll want to keep putting up with any more of these future antics. Hopefully, German can recover and do whatever he needs to do to repent for his misdeeds to both his family and the baseball world but for now, his place is not on the field.
Meanwhile, Anthony Rizzo has seen his respected Yankee captain reputation sour very quickly in the midst of a dire hitting stretch ever since a collision involving Fernando Tatis Jr. that left him with concerning neck and concussion warning signs. The Yankees however needed Rizzo on the field in the wake of Judge going down for a long stretch, and the results of that decision were dastardly. Rocking a 146 wRC+ pre-injury compared to an abysmal 43 wRC+ after highlights just how foolish New York’s decision was to play him during this time. His production is important to the team but more importantly here is the health of Rizzo and it’s shocking to see just how badly New York handled it. Concussions if mishandled and not noticed soon enough can be a plaguing issue that harms a player’s career long-term and hopefully he will be able to recover and get back to his old ways.
But the fact of the matter is that it might be too many problems combined with too deep of a hole for the Yankees to dig themselves out of it. While they are currently 5 games above .500 and sit just 3 games behind a wild-card spot, this team is hardly brimming with hope amidst terrible news and struggling players. Giancarlo Stanton has been the ire of every Yankee fan lately with his production dipping below league average and showcasing baserunning effort that would earn a benching for any player not earning 32 mil a year. Other big-money flops like Donaldson and LeMahieu have also regressed to pitiful forms of their former selves and look to just take up space on a pretty shallow roster depth-wise. The bullpen is contrastingly fantastic, yet a bullpen can only produce so much compared to how much work the lineup and rotation need to do over a full season, and right now New York is getting little out of the other two. And with the deadline now passed and the only moves being picking up Spencer Howard (currently in Triple-A) and reliever Keynan Middleton, that shallow roster and farm system is all the Yankees will have to work with from here on.
There are a lot of fingers being pointed right now. Fans aren’t sure whether the questionable decisions Cashman made while building this roster or the uninspiring leadership Boone has shown during this tumultuous stretch is more cause but the truth is that it’s probably a combination of both. Clubhouse culture, shoddy roster-building decisions, and a generally ambiguous future have made the Yankees for the first time in a while question what the path going forward will be. Bright spots like Judge, Cole, and Volpe are reasons to still believe in this usually consistent powerhouse but right now they need to lock in or they can forget about October baseball.