Why should Yankees consider trading Domingo German as trade deadline nears

New York Yankees starter Domingo German
Sara Molnick
Wednesday July 5, 2023

Table of Contents

In 2019, the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly expressed interest in Yankees pitcher Domingo German. With the Yankees facing a surplus of starters in the near future, and the Dodgers in need of a starting pitcher, a potential trade involving Domingo German should be considered by the Yankees.

At present, the Yankees’ starting rotation includes top pitchers Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino, as well as promising rookies Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez. Among these options, Domingo German may seem less noteworthy. However, he recently achieved a remarkable feat by completing the 24th perfect game in MLB history on Wednesday night in Oakland. This serves as a reminder of the fascinating unpredictability of baseball.

Both Nestor Cortes and Carlos Rodon are expected to make their return this summer. It would be a straightforward decision to remove the rotation spot held by Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez. However, there seems to be no strong justification to relegate Clarke Schmidt to the bullpen. He has been on an impressive two-month streak, boasting a 1.97 ERA in his last six starts, despite unfortunate losses.

While Schmidt is still a rookie adjusting to the challenges of the major leagues, Domingo German, on the other hand, is an experienced pitcher who can be inconsistent in his performances. It is not disrespectful to suggest that Domingo German may have already reached his peak after achieving a literal perfect game. There is a possibility of a decline, although when his curveball is on point, he can be a formidable force. Just ask any Dodger player, except for JD Martinez, who experienced Domingo German’s dominance firsthand in early June.

As the Yankees embark on their expected midseason retool, they have the opportunity to make bold moves. While trading Luis Severino is a possibility, it seems unlikely given that the Yankees didn’t make such a move before the season started, despite being aware that Severino would be leaving at the end of the season. Therefore, it is doubtful that they will consider it now. However, it could be worthwhile to inquire about Domingo German while subtly exploring potential interest in Severino.

Domingo German’s inconsistent outings

Despite showing promise at times, Domingo German’s performance as a starting pitcher for the Yankees has been inconsistent. His record of 5-5 and metrics such as ERA- and FIP- indicate that he has been an average pitcher both in the current season and over the course of his career. Considering these factors, trading Domingo German could potentially allow the Yankees to acquire a more reliable and consistent starting pitcher who can contribute to the team’s success.

Yankees starter Domingo German pitched a perfect game against the A's on June 28, 2023, at Oakland.
AP Photo

His career has been marked by both on-field and off-field challenges. Notably, he was suspended for 81 games in 2019-2020 due to a domestic violence incident. However, this season, his struggles and inconsistencies have been primarily on the field. During his start against the Red Sox on June 16, Domingo German had a subpar performance. He threw only 56 pitches and generated a low 3.6% whiff rate, well below his seasonal average of 13.7%. His curveball, which is typically his go-to pitch, was not effective as he only induced one swing and miss out on 18 attempts, resulting in three doubles and a home run.

Additionally, he allowed seven batted balls with a launch angle higher than 5 degrees, none of which were converted into outs. Six of those batted balls resulted in extra-base hits, including two fly balls with a velocity below 100 mph. Interestingly, Domingo German’s changeup, curveball, and four-seam spin rates were higher in this start compared to his previous four starts, including the game where he pitched a perfect game.

In the Yankees’ June 22 game against the Mariners, Domingo German endured a challenging outing. He threw a total of 93 pitches. However, the results were far from ideal. Although he managed to record two outs on nine fly balls or line drives, opposing hitters had a remarkable 14-for-16 success rate in those categories across this game and his previous start. Domingo German struggled with keeping the ball in the park, surrendering four home runs, all of which came with the bases empty. The Mariners were able to capitalize on his entire repertoire, hitting two homers off his four-seamer and one each off his curveball and sinker. It was undoubtedly a challenging performance for German and a disappointing outcome for the Yankees.

In the game on June 28, Domingo German accomplished the remarkable feat of pitching a perfect game. During this outing, he made a couple of noteworthy adjustments in his pitch selection. Recognizing that his curveball was particularly effective, he relied on it more than usual, throwing it 51.5% of the time in his impressive 99-pitch performance. Interestingly, he decided to abandon his sinker and only threw it once throughout the game.

When analyzing the batted balls allowed by Domingo German, it becomes apparent that luck did not play a significant role in his perfect game. Out of the 18 balls put in play against him, only two were line drives, and neither exceeded 80 mph in exit velocity. One of those line drives, hit by Esteury Ruiz, was a legitimate shot at a hit but was caught by shortstop Anthony Volpe. The other notable hit came from Seth Brown, who hit a scorching ground ball rocket at 106 mph in the 5th inning. The remaining batted balls were routine fly balls and weak grounders.

Inconsistency returns after the perfect game

Yankees starter Domingo German pitched a perfect game against the A's on June 28, 2023, at Oakland.

In his return to the Bronx on July 3, where the Yankees secured a 6-3 win over the Orioles, there was one notable downside to Domingo German’s performance: the high number of line drives allowed, which amounted to seven in total. Among the 11 batted balls with launch angles of 5 degrees or higher, nine resulted in hits, with all but one being singles. It is worth mentioning that Domingo German did not allow a fly ball with an exit velocity of 100 mph or higher, yet the Orioles managed to go 3 for 4 in the air, consisting of two singles and a double. While allowing nine hits in just 4 1/3 innings at Yankee Stadium is not an encouraging stat, the fly balls and grounders he yielded should have been relatively harmless, and even the line drives should have resulted in less damage than they did.

In terms of pitch selection, Domingo German continued to avoid using his sinker while spin rates ranked the lowest across all pitch types compared to his previous four starts.

Overall, these observations indicate that Domingo German is a relatively average pitcher with some potential, as his results tend to fluctuate. He has a tendency to induce more popups than most pitchers but also allows more line drives. His strikeout and walk rates fall within the average range, as does his average exit speed allowed.

It is worth noting that among pitchers who threw 135 or more innings in 2022, Domingo German had the highest curveball usage rate at 41.4%. Pitchers who rely heavily on their fastballs can often utilize them effectively at any time, while those who specialize in curveballs and sliders tend to experience more inconsistent outcomes.

German is not so perfect

On June 28, Domingo German arguably delivered one of the most remarkable pitching performances in recent memory. While it was against the A’s, who are historically known for their struggles in preventing runs rather than scoring them, it shouldn’t diminish the significance of Domingo German’s achievement. However, in his other three recent starts, he failed to perform at the same level. Consequently, when considering his overall body of work, he appears to be an average pitcher in many respects.

Ironically, one of Domingo German’s best statistical indicators might be his 84-component ERA, which takes into account the actual results he has allowed without considering the sequencing of those results. This suggests that Domingo German’s overall performance might not be as impressive as the individual components would suggest.

After violating the MLB’s domestic violence policy, Domingo German was suspended for the entire 2020 season. While he has made a comeback to the team since then, his off-field actions have raised legitimate concerns about his character and the impact it could have on team chemistry. As a result, exploring a trade for Domingo German could be a viable option for the Yankees to distance themselves from this controversy and send a strong message about their stance against domestic violence.

Furthermore, the Yankees possess a pool of talented prospects in their farm system who have the potential to step up and fill any gaps left by German’s departure. Trading him would not only address the off-field concerns but also create opportunities for these young pitchers to showcase their abilities and contribute to the team’s long-term success. By making such a move, the Yankees would not only prioritize their ethical responsibilities but also lay the foundation for a promising future.

With Domingo German’s recent accomplishment of pitching a perfect game, his trade value has reached its pinnacle. The Yankees now have an opportunity to leverage this heightened value and explore potential trades that could bolster the team in various areas. By trading Domingo German, they could acquire valuable assets such as promising prospects, bullpen reinforcements, or offensive upgrades to enhance their overall roster.

However, the decision to trade Domingo German will ultimately hinge on the Yankees’ evaluation of his long-term value to the team, taking into account both his on-field performance and his off-field conduct. They must weigh the immediate benefits of trading him against the potential impact and the value he could provide in the future. Additionally, the team’s overall strategy and goals for the current season and beyond will play a crucial role in determining whether it’s in their best interest to part ways with Domingo German or retain him as a key contributor.

Ultimately, the Yankees will need to carefully assess all factors and make a calculated decision that aligns with their vision for success on the field while considering the potential ramifications off the field.

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