By JED WEISBERGER
There has been a lot of jabbering on Social Media about how the Yankees need to trade for a top-drawer pitcher.
Names such as Madison Bumgarner and Michael Fulmer have been tossed around. Now is not the time, nor is it the place.
First, even with Jordan Montgomery on the shelf for 6-8 weeks with a left elbow strain, there is no reason. Right-hander Domingo German can certainly fill the bill. He certainly showed what he could do with four innings of sparkling relief of Montgomery last Tuesday evening.
German gets high marks from observers.
“You have to like both his (German’s) stuff and manner on the mound,’’ said a scout from an NL East team. “He takes situations in stride.’’
German, the lone Yankees piece left from one of general manager Brian Cashman’s few misfires, the winter 2014 trade that sent useful infielder Martin Prado and reliever David Phelps to the Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and infielder Garrett Jones. Both fizzled.
The Dominican German dropped from sight as far as many fans were concerned after Tommy John Surgery, missing the 2015 season and throwing limited innings at Class-A stops Charleston and Tampa in 2016.
After a 1-4, 3.00 start at Double-A Trenton last spring, a performance with which he pitched better than his numbers, German went 7-2, 2.88 in 14 games (13 starts) at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he appeared in seven games with the Yankees, putting together a 0-1, 3.14 effort on seven sporadic appearances.
German, 25 (he turns 26 Aug. 4), is an example of what Cashman does best. Even in a trade that didn’t work out, he brings back a young pitching prospect. This is both the pattern and strategy when trading a veteran. Albert Abreu, another right-handed pitching prospect, was in the Brian McCann deal with Houston. Right-hander Eric Swanson, who is 4-0, 0.87 in four starts at Trenton, came in the Carlos Beltran swap from Texas.
So, what does German bring to the fray as the fill-in fifth starter?
He packs some heat, with a fastball that sits 93-96 and can hit 97-98. His emergence last season came due to an adjustment, as the Yankees junked his slider and replaced it with a curve in the 78-80 range and a changeup in the high-80s. That three-pitch package helps keep hitters off-balance.
German has a chance to secure a spot in the Yankees rotation both this year picking up Montgomery and replacing C.C. Sabathia in 2019. Chances are it could work out just like that.
If it doesn’t, and Montgomery, who likely won’t be back until July, is scuffling, the Yankees certainly will take a look at what might be available.
For now, however, German is the right move. Teams just don’t trade names like Bumgarner or Fulmer at this time of the season. They are not about to concede the season at the start of May and are still looking to sell tickets and give their fans something to cheer for.
German has the goods. He deserves a chance to make good. Besides, heading into play Thursday, the Yankees’ Team ERA was 3.38, second in the American League.