• Domingo German accepted an 81-game suspension for violating MLB domestic violence rules
  • The Yankees knew this would happen and it has not affected their off-season plans
  • They want to move J.A. Happ to shed payroll ahead of the 2020 season

The New York Yankees received a blow as pitcher Domingo German was suspended for the first 63 games of the 2020 season for violation of MLB’s domestic violence policy but remain keen to offload hurler J.A. Happ in order to shed payroll.

According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Bombers expected the league’s decision of an 81-game suspension, with the first 18 being served last season. That means that their off-season plans are wholly unaffected by the league’s decision.

The team is currently well over MLB’s $208 million luxury tax threshold after signing Gerrit Cole to an earth-shattering contract worth $324 million over nine years. The team also brought back veteran center fielder Brett Gardner and is currently exploring a trade for Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers.

J.A. Happ Yankees
J.A. Happ #34 of the New York Yankees reacts after being relieving in the third inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game One of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 5, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

With an excess of pitching talent to go along with their excessive spending, the Yankees want to shed payroll before the start of the new season. The 37-year-old pitcher is entering the twilight of his career and is set to earn $17 million in 2020.

His contract also includes a $17 million option for 2021 which would vest after the southpaw makes 27 starts or tosses 165 innings. Happ made 30 starts in both the 2018 and 2019 season.

Despite being available for so many appearances, Happ had a down season in 2019. He posted a 12-8 record with a 4.91 ERA while tossing 161.1 innings over 31 starts. These unimpressive stats, combined with his exorbitant salary and his advancing age all mean that he would be a tough sell.

Division rivals Baltimore Orioles are known to want to start pitching, as do the Kansas City Royals, as do a number of AL West clubs. The Los Angeles Angels did well to capture Anthony Rendon via free agency but are yet to address their needs in their starting rotation.

The Texas Rangers did have a need but may have ironed out their issues by trading for former AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. The Seattle Mariners, meanwhile, lost Felix Hernandez, Wade LeBlanc and Tommy Milone to free agency this season.

The New York Yankees may wish to deal Happ to the NL so that he is less likely to hurt them. Teams like the Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants will, therefore, be more attractive trade partners.

However, his market will be limited by the aforementioned factors so the Bombers may just have to take whatever deal they can get. Either way, moving Happ remains their focus for the off-season.