Yankees Spring Training News and Notes: February 21, 2021

It is podium season. (Via Yankees)

Another day, another practice for the Yankees. There is not as much today as there was in yesterday’s three-day update – funny how that works – but there is still enough to go around. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel like it’s really Spring Training now. I mean, look at these videos:

You don’t get videos like that at just any time of year, folks. That is prime Spring Training material right there. (And hopefully the start of the Gary Sánchez Resurgence Tour.) Anyway, on to the major happenings from Yankee camp today.

The Big Story: The Germán Saga Continues

Look, I am not exactly thrilled that I have to write about this one again. I said everything I had to say on this situation yesterday and was hoping that would be that. Alas, it was not to be. The Domingo Germán saga continues and, to the surprise of exactly zero people, it is even uglier than it was yesterday. Today’s situation started with a new report from The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler:

The post is behind a paywall, but the new information is pretty straightforward: after the initial incident at CC Sabathia’s charity gala in September 2019, Germán and his girlfriend returned home. The violence escalated there, prompting the victim to reach out to the wife of a Yankee player. After that outreach, the couple went to Germán’s house, where the wife protected Germán’s girlfriend and the unnamed teammate tried to calm down the belligerent Germán.

All of this is to say: yikes. We already knew much of this story, but the more we find out, the worse it gets. And it really puts Zack Britton’s comments in perspective, I think. This situation directly involved members of the team beyond Germán. It is bad and it highlights why Britton was so candid. It is reasonable to wonder if his very presence is uncomfortable for several of his teammates.

After the story, Germán’s scheduled press availability was subsequently cancelled, and he released this statement:

The statement is pretty bland as these things go, but once again, the Germán drama impacted his teammates. This time it was Aroldis Chapman, whose press availability was set to precede Germán’s. Chapman, who himself has been abusive to women, said he spoke to Germán yesterday, advised him to address the team before meeting the press, and declined further comment on the situation.

What a mess this all is. It is not the opening to camp that anyone with the team would have liked, but I don’t really feel sorry for the organization. They made their bed by keeping Germán around. (And, it must be said, with their history with Chapman in the first place.) It is genuinely surprising to me how unprepared the Yankees have seemed for all of this. They have experience! Even still, Boone has not seemed equipped to handle questioning, Germán’s been absent, and the result is that other players have had to step up. It’s not great.

Regardless of your view on Germán’s (and/or Chapman’s) continued employment with the Yankees, it is undeniable that the team is handling this poorly from a communications perspective. What happens next remains to be seen, but it does not need to be this way. I just hope the Yanks do the right thing.

Leftovers

Alright, so for the second day in a row, that was an unpleasant big story. The much more fun stuff follows, even if it is standard Spring Training fare. Baseball is baseball, after all. I’ll take what I can get.

  • Live Batting Practice: This being pitchers and catchers, it’s all about the staff right now. As such, seven Yanks threw live BP today. Per Bryan Hoch, they were: Albert Abreu, Yoendrys Gomez, Nick Goody, Mike King, Corey Kluber, Adam Warren, and Asher Wojciechowski.
    • That’s right: Corey Kluber threw live BP! Exciting. Adam Warren, too! He is back with the Yankees and healthy. That is the beauty of Spring Training, where we get to see new friends and old. There is some video of both, which is always nice. Here it is, again per Hoch:
  • The Gas Station: I am sure I’ll be sick of “The Gas Station” nickname in about three days, but I’m still enjoying it for now. Seven Yanks threw bullpens in there today, per Hoch: Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman, Luis García, Deivi García, Chad Green, and Darren O’Day. Here is some video of O’Day’s arm action:
  • The Importance of a Third Pitch: Michael King spoke to the press today, saying that his biggest offseason focus was adding a third pitch. He told Bryan Hoch that “you really need a third pitch to pitch in the big leagues, especially if you want to get through the order a second time.”
    • King, who had a rough line in 2020 but has shown promise, relies heavily on his sinker. He threw the pitch 60% of the time last season, also adding in a curve (19%), change (15%), and occasional fastball (6%). I didn’t see which pitch he worked on, but I’d guess he tries to balance his pitches a bit better in 2021. That probably means relying a bit less on the sinker and focusing more on deception. We’ll see.
    • One other funny note on King: he said he thought The Gas Station was “the dumbest name in the world” for the new pitching structure but says that after being in there, he thinks it is “the coolest place” and that he “lives in there.” Pretty hilarious, honestly.
  • Martian Watch: The Yankees’ Senior Director of Player Development Kevin Reese spoke to the media today and discussed much-hyped prospect Jasson Dominguez. He said that the hype is unfair to the 17-year-old and that it is unreasonable to compare him to Aaron Judge or Mike Trout. True enough. It is definitely too much. And it’s nice to hear the team say so explicitly: it is a way of supporting a young player.
    • Okay. So, now that the reasonable stuff is out of the way. I am super excited to see the kid come stateside. The hype may be out of control, but it’s clear that he has crazy talent and potential. Let’s hope that he sees professional action this year and starts to live up to it. That would be nice. There are only so many Instagram BPs a man can watch.
  • Other Prospect News: Spring Training is a time for prospects, right? It sure is. We’ve gotten a few early glimpses into some other non-Jasson prospects over the last few days:
    • Austin Wells: The biggest is related to last year’s first-rounder, catcher Austin Wells. Boone discussed him yesterday and was positively gushing, saying that he is as strong as anyone in camp. He also noted that he loves hitting and has been having “advanced” conversations with the hitting coaches. Seems good. Will be excited to follow him this year.
    • Miscellaneous: We got some Zoom Room previews of the future catching tree and saw Luis Gil play catch with Trevor Lane. That’s about it, but hey. It’s better than nothing.

That does it for another day at Yankees camp. We’re only a week away from real game action, which is exciting. We’ll keep you posted if anything happens between now and tomorrow morning. Until then, have a great night, everyone.

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2 Comments

  1. I subscribed to The Atlantic a year ago, then let my subscription lapse because I got tired of the clickbait articles real fast. A Domingo German news hiatus – let’s say for a minimum of 4 days – would really make spring training a lot more fun to read about. A mind reading hiatus – permanently – would also be very welcome.

  2. Baseball writers lamenting the false importance of ugly issues is nothing new. In 2000 ESPN’s Jayson Stark wrote that the that year’s World Series will be remembered as the time Roger Clemens flung Mike Piazza’s broken bat at him. Why is Domingo German’s return from domestic abuse “The Big Story” Bobby? It is not a big story, let alone THE big story, so please stop making it into one. Don’t write about it, don’t bother the players about it. Show some restraint. Let the players deal with it in privacy, then you can write about it after the team meeting and German’s public statement. In the meantime please just write about on-the-field stuff, which player’s are happy to discuss.

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