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Perrotto: Who’s Next for the Pirates? Trevor Bauer?

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Domingo German, Pittsburgh Pirates

Domingo German is still drinking.

Oh, the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander says he can control his drinking. He claims he can go about months at a time without consuming alcohol.

However, I have doubts after the comments German made to veteran baseball writer Randy Miller in an outstanding story on NJ.com.

German said he treated his time last summer at the rehabilitation center in Jupiter, Fla., as a lark. The only reason he stayed for a month was to preserve the remaining $866,667 of his $2.6 million salary for last season salary after the Yankees threatened to terminate his contract following a clubhouse tirade.

I’m not an alcohol or drug counselor. However, I have been around people with alcohol problems, and it’s universally prescribed that they should never drink. Experts in alcohol abuse counseling warn that one drink can cause someone to “fall off the wagon” and begin drinking heavily again.

That German says he still drinks at all should be a big red flag to the Pirates, who signed him to a minor-league contract earlier this month.

The Pirates insist they thoroughly vetted German, saying they had long conversations with him, his wife and his family. The organization feels it has a support system in place to keep alcohol from becoming a problem again for the 31-year-old.

Yet I question how much the Pirates vetted German. How could they sign a player who admits he is drinking again less than after spending time in a rehab facility?

It’s hard to understand.

The Pirates and German haven’t used the well-worn excuse that the story was inaccurate or misinterpreted, a claim that is often a crutch in these situations.

I can assure you the story is 100% true, especially after talking with Miller.

German said it to Miller directly through Pirates coach/interpreter Stephen Morales. It should be noted that Morales is an upfront guy who gives accurate interpretations rather than changing words to make the team happy.

What makes matters worse is German served an 81-game suspension during the 2019 and 2020 seasons while with the Yankees for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy after an incident with his girlfriend – and now wife — in 2019.

Last week, I supported the Pirates’ decision to sign German. Yankees people say he was a great guy who only turned bad when he drank. Pirates people said German had been vetted more throughout than any player since Ben Cherington became general manager in 2019.

Talk about cold takes.

The Pirates already have two players on the major-league roster who have served MLB-imposing penalties for domestic violence incidents – left-handed reliever Aroldis Chapman and injured infielder/outfielder Ji Hwan Bae. Now, there is a possibility that German will eventually join them.

I understand that the Pirates feel they need to take some chances on players, especially with owner Bob Nutting annually providing one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. They have to find bargains and German is certainly one with a contract that calls for a $1.25-million salary if he is in the majors this season with a club option for $2.25 million for 2025.

That’s insanely low for a pitcher who won 18 games in 2019 and threw a perfect game last season.

I am also all for giving people second chances. I’ve done some dumb things, too, in my life.

The comments I keep getting in emails and social media messages from fans are why don’t the Pirates sign free-agent pitcher Trevor Bauer. Bauer, of course, was given a 324-game suspension by MLB in 2021 for alleged domestic violence and sexual abuse. The ban was cut to 194 games by an independent arbitrator.

Bauer has served his suspension and was never charged with any crimes.

While I don’t like Bauer – he and former Pirates shortstop Pat Meares are the two most condescending players I’ve dealt with in 37 years covering baseball – adding one of the sport’s top pitchers would make the Pirates serious contenders in a wide-open weak National League Central.

And if the Pirates aren’t concerned about having German – as well as Chapman and Bae — in their organization, what should stop them from signing Bauer?

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