2. Luis Severino
Luis Severino has pitched in 26 games since the start of 2019. His 2022 season was derailed by a 60-day injured list stint -- one he didn't agree with and expressed frustration with the organization about -- due to a lat issue. He's always injured and there's always something. Beyond frustrating.
But here comes 2023. The Yankees picked up his $15 million option. Severino is entering a contract year. Whether he's back in the Bronx after this season or not, the Yankees need Severino and Severino needs the Yankees from now until November. The Yankees can't get to where they want to be without Sevy, and Sevy can't earn his next big-money contract without success in New York.
If he can turn back the clock to 2017 and provide an ace-like campaign out of the No. 4 rotation spot, he'll be the beneficiary of a healthy class of free agent starters. Somebody could give him $100+ million if he can pitch to his capabilities and stay healthy. It probably won't be the Yankees, but they're his employer right now, and he has to deliver for them in order to paint a favorable picture for his future.
He's got buffers, too. Gerrit Cole will be facing the most pressure, as usual. Carlos Rodón is the new big-ticket free agent that will pitch behind Cole. Nestor Cortes will be tasked with following up a breakout, All-Star season as one of the biggest fan favorites.
At this point, though fans love watching Sevy pitch, many have let go. There's no baking in expectations for him because you never know what to expect when it comes to his health. And everything's really been thrown for a loop because of his deteriorating relationship with the Yankees.
Keep Sevy under the radar pitching out of the back end of the rotation and we could see No. 2 results.