The New York Yankees upgrading their starting rotation by acquiring Carlos Rodón was a perfect move to accompany the re-signing of Aaron Judge. Not only was the team’s cornerstone player secured, but the management team successfully added a true No. 2 starter behind ace Gerrit Cole.
With the addition of Rodón to the rotation, that moves the other three starters down a spot and puts a couple pitchers out of a potential chance for a starting position. First, there’s Clarke Schmidt, who has proven his talent at the Triple-A level but has yet to find his stride in the major leagues. However, he will be a serviceable bullpen piece and potential fifth starter if one of the definite rotation pitchers gets hurt.
The one player who is truly expendable for the Yankees and could be part of a trade if push comes to shove is Domingo Germán. The 30-year-old right-hander hailing from the Dominican Republic has been with the Yankees his entire career starting in 2017, and although he’s not the worst pitcher ever, there’s no better time for his career in pinstripes to end.
In 2022, Germán battled injuries, but after returning in the second half, he posted some semi-decent numbers given his role within the rotation as the fifth starter. He pitched to the tune of a 3.61 ERA, 4.44 FIP, 4.33 xFIP, and 0.7 fWAR in 72.1 innings. Below are his Statcast numbers for the 2022 season:
Germán had great spin on his curveball and even better spin on his fastball. He got players to chase and didn’t walk many batters, either. However, the velocity on his fastball was the lowest of his career at 92.7 on average and the low whiff rate helped lead batters to contact … which generated a bad overall hard-hit rate. That led to plenty of problems for the Yankees defense.
Germán is second-year arbitration eligible after making $1.75 million last season, so the Yankees aren’t getting much relief in that department if they decide to move on. However, potentially packaging him in a trade might not be the worst idea considering he is one of the vestigial parts of the staff. He could be of service to a team looking for immediate impact in the back end of a rotation or even in the bullpen, but considering where the Yankees intend on getting this season and in the immediate future, it’s hard not to view Germán as a liability. How much does a mediocre sixth starter really bring to the table?
The snag in this entire discourse is the question of what kind of return Germán realistically generates if not packaged with a superior player. His value after being injured as a 30-year-old pitcher and posting some eyebrow-raising peripherals won’t be that high, so even though he won’t cost the Yankees much (or the team that may look at acquiring him), it may be hard to get him out of the organization beyond a straight DFA, even though at this point it’s probably what is best for both parties.
The only way that I can see Germán being of any use is out of the bullpen. However, when healthy, there are no arms I would take him over, and considering plenty of the reactions on the internet to him being in the starting rotation at one point last season, I’m confident many Yankees fans would say the same. Injuries could be the deciding factor for all of this, but one thing is for certain: with Rodón in the mix and a fresh slate in 2023 for Frankie Montas at the back of the rotation, Germán is on the chopping block for Brian Cashman.