Luis Severino and CC Sabathia will begin the season on the shelf for the Yankees when they head north to begin the season. Since Severino went down, the speculation would be that the fourth and fifth starters of the Yankee rotation would be two of a possible three consisting of Luis Cessa, Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga. Cessa has seemed to have cemented his place as one of the two. His lack of options and his spring success seems to guarantee as much. Recently signed "insurance policy," Gio Gonzalez should jump both German and Loaisiga as the fifth option.
I know, I know. I have been the one screaming to keep away from Manny Machado and Bryce Harper to let the kids play. But pitching is different. A team needs starters that give the team the best chance to win. I think Loaisiga should be out anyway since his command has not been there this spring and he is still walking too many batters. But with a choice of German (who throws strikes) and Gonzalez, I still have to go with Gonzalez.
For those thinking that Gonzalez has not built himself up enough yet with a full Spring Training, Aaron Boone has said that Gonzalez had his own throwing program and had recently pitched as many as eight pitches in those sessions. Gonzalez has been through the wars and knows what he needs to do. He is durable and reliable and, though he is not flashy, he has more than a decade of getting Major League batters out. All you need is a decent five innings from the guy.
This way, German can take the place of Dellin Betances as a strike-throwing, bat-missing arm out of the pen. Sure, if you need German as a starter later in the season (let's hope not), you can stretch him back out if needed.
There are times when Domingo German looks better than Luis Severino. Unfortunately, there are other times when he looks like the 2016 version of Severino. He has a maddening tendency for giving up crooked numbers in a hurry interspersed with innings of brilliance. It makes you wonder if he too is tipping pitches.
The Yankees' offense is great. And that offense will win the team a lot of games. But the team still needs good starting pitching. Right now, that is my biggest worry about this team. Gio Gonzalez would be one less worry. The biggest thing I like about him is that he has a 0.8 homers per nine rate for his career. That is important when pitching for the Yankees.
Yes, I am a youth movement guy. Part of the excitement of this current team is the thrill of watching young and potential superstars take shape. Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga can be two of those potential stars. But Loaisiga is not ready (IMHO) and German needs to show he can be consistently effective. Gonzalez will never be a superstar. But he is more comforting in the rotation right now.
P.S. I completely want to puke thinking the Yankees are even considering using an "Opener." Such a thing is the scourge of the world. DO NOT DO IT, Yankees!! Don't go to the dark side!