Posted on January 2, 2020, by Bryan Zarpentine
Months after placing him on administrative leave, Major League Baseball has finally made a ruling on New York Yankees pitcher Domingo German. On Thursday, the league issued an 81-game suspension to German under the Joint MLB-MLBPA Domestic Violence Policy. German will get credit for serving 18 games at the end of the 2019 season, including the team’s nine postseason games, meaning he will sit out the first 63 games of the 2020 season. That will make German eligible to return from the suspension on June 5.
German was initially placed on administrative leave on September 19 amidst allegations he had a physical altercation with the mother of his children. No formal police report was filed but MLB performed its own investigation into the matter. MLB didn’t disclose specifics about the investigation, but its findings were significant enough to warrant one of the longest suspensions of any player to be in violation of the league’s Domestic Violence Policy.
“My office has completed its investigation into the allegations that Domingo German violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. German violated our Policy and that discipline is appropriate.”
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In addition to the suspension, German has agreed to contribute to Sanctuary for Families, a non-profit based in New York that helps the victims of domestic violence. He will also participate in an evaluation and treatment program, which is standard protocol for MLB players who violate the Domestic Violence Policy. German has agreed not to appeal the suspension and will not be paid for the 63 games he’s suspended. Also, German will not be allowed to participate in spring training games. However, he will be eligible for the 2020 postseason if the Yankees qualify.
“We remain steadfast in our support of Major League Baseball’s investigative process and the disciplinary action taken regarding Domingo German,” the Yankees said in a statement.
“Domestic violence — in any form — is a gravely serious matter that affects every segment of our society. Major League Baseball has taken the lead in our industry to make domestic violence awareness and prevention a priority, and we will continue to back those efforts. We are encouraged by Domingo’s acceptance of his discipline, and we sincerely hope this indicates a commitment to making a meaningful and positive change in his personal conduct.”
The suspension will serve as a huge stain on what should have been a breakout season for German in 2019. He came out of nowhere to become one of New York’s best pitchers during the first part of the season before being slowed by a hip injury in June. In 24 starts and three relief outings, German finished the year 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA and likely would have been part of the team’s postseason plans had he not been placed on administrative leave.
Missing spring training and the first two months of the season will likely have an impact on German’s role with the Yankees in 2020. Headlined by Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino, New York’s rotation already includes six proven starters when everyone is healthy. The Yankees should also have no problem filling out one of the deepest bullpens in baseball. That might not leave much room for German on the pitching staff if the Yankees can remain relatively healthy.
Regardless of the details, German’s suspension should be seen as a black mark on his career. Compared to players like Roberto Osuna, Addison Russell, and Odubel Herrera who have also been suspended for domestic violence, his suspension is one of the longest. That fact should speak volumes about how egregious his actions were. Fittingly, the suspension kept him from playing in the 2019 postseason and is likely to have a negative impact on his career moving forward.