Yankees settle with all their arbitration eligible players except Luis Severino
Friday afternoon the Yankees settled and agreed to one-year contracts for next season with eight of their nine arbitration eligible players. The lone exception was staff ace Luis Severino who is asking for $5.25 million after the Yankees only offered him $4.4 million.
Severino is in his first year of eligibility for arbitration coming off his fourth season in the big leagues. The 24-year-old made his second straight All-Star game in 2018 pitching to a 19-8 record with a 3.39 ERA and 220 K’s in 191.1 IP. He really struggled in the second half of the season and in the playoffs but moving forward Sevy’s future still projects to be very bright at the top of the Yankees rotation.
Hopefully, the Yanks and Sevy come to an agreement before hearings begin next month and things don’t get ugly at court as they did with Dellin Betances a year ago. Fortunately, Betances and the Yankees did settle this time around for $7.25 million after he lost his case last season and made $3 million instead of the $5 million he requested. Betances is set to become a free agent after the season and gets a well-deserved pay raise before he gets to test open market next offseason for the first time in his career.
As for the rest of the Yankees who settled on Friday:
Newly acquired starter James Paxton received a big pay raise as well for $8.575 million after he only made $4.9 million last season with the Mariners. Sonny Gray settled with the Yanks on a one-year deal for $7.5 million, but he’s still expected to be traded at some point. With CC Sabathia’s health concerns there’s no telling when that may be but we can all assume Gray won’t make it through the entire 2019 season with the Yankees.
Didi Gregorius got a nice payday of $11.75 million even though he’s expected to miss a large chunk of next season as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery. Like Betances and Aaron Hicks, who will make $6 million this season, he’ll also be a free agent after the year.
The Yankees have seven players on their projected roster who can become free agents next season and the odds are they’re not going to be able to bring everyone back. The focus should be on re-signing Didi, and Betances, but both players project to be highly sought after next winter and are in line to get paid quite handsomely.
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With the Yankees now likely out on Manny Machado after the signing of D.J. LeMaheiu, I expect the front office to do whatever they can to lock up Didi to be their starting shortstop long-term. Betances will also be a top priority, especially if Aroldis Chapman opts out after the season to join him in free agency. The Yankees have invested a lot of money into their bullpen in recent years and they’ll continue to do so because they know how impactful the pen can be come playoff time.
After Hicks’ breakout season in 2018, he has a chance to cash in big time next offseason which is why I think he’ll be the hardest of the Yanks potential free agents to resign. He’s a five-tool player who’s just entering his prime so if he posts a season similar to the one he posted in 2018 he should receive offers up to $80-90 million.
Luckily the Yankees have top prospect Estevan Florial rising up the ranks in the farm system and there’s a chance he could take over for Hicks as the everyday center fielder in 2020 and beyond.