Luis Severino is slated to make his sixth start of the season for the New York Yankees on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. So far this season, the right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 24 innings. Not quite vintage Sevy, but there have been plenty of flashes suggesting he could get back to that form.
Back in 2019, Severino signed a four-year extension with the Yankees, and 2022 is the final guaranteed season of that pact. Next year, the team can opt to exercise his $15 million option or pay his $2.75 million buyout and wipe their hands clean.
But perhaps there’s one more shrewd way to go about this. Should general manager Brian Cashman re-engage Sevy’s representation on another extension, considering the Yankees have gotten next to no value out of his most recent one?
Since putting pen to paper prior to the 2019 campaign, Severino has appeared in 12 regular season games and logged a total of 42 innings. He was guaranteed $40 million, which was a smart move at the time since he was coming off back-to-back All-Star seasons with Cy Young votes.
Now, assuming his injury troubles are far in the rearview based on his finish last year and his start this year, it might be worth it to try and retain him at another discounted rate.
With Jameson Taillon set to hit free agency after 2022 and Jordan Montgomery to join after 2023, the Yankees could end up paying less for Severino and getting similar (or better!) production if he can rediscover his ace-like capabilities with consistent playing time.
The case for the Yankees to extend Luis Severino again
Starting pitching is the most expensive commodity in all of MLB, so whenever teams have the chance to hold onto controllable arms to sign others at a discounted rate, it’s almost done without hesitation. Just ask the Yankees, who are on the hook for $36 million a year with Gerrit Cole through the 2028 season.
From Severino’s perspective, any sort of security might be comforting after all he’s dealt with these last few years. Is he really going to want to test his limits after dealing with serious shoulder, elbow and groin injuries? Next year will be his age-29 season, too, which would make his endeavor to get a big free agency contract a high-profile one (since this should theoretically be his “prime”).
And really, how many other teams would be willing to take a chance on him for a potential premier starting pitcher price tag? With the way owners across the league have been cheaping out, we’d venture to say not many.
Montgomery’s represented by Scott Boras, so fans can assume he’ll be gone after 2022. Taillon very well could return, but he’s in a similar boat with Monty from a production perspective career-wise. The Yankees won’t be able to (or at least won’t be willing to) pay both of them, which is where another cost-effective Severino contract can help them cope with a loss in the rotation.
A trio of Cole, Severino, Nestor Cortes to help welcome some young arms (Clarke Schmidt? Ken Waldichuk? Hayden Wesneski? Randy Vasquez?) to full-time roles might be the best plan for the Yankees based on how they’ve been spending in recent years (plus with a commitment to Aaron Judge likely on the horizon).
Getting these talks started as early as possible can only help them, too, so Cashman might want to get the ball rolling to get ahead of the team option situation after this season.