After dueling tumultuous seasons in the Bronx, former Yankees Luis Severino and Harrison Bader both opted to join the Evil Empire in free agency this winter.
Not that one. No, not that one, either. Yes, you're on the right track -- whoop, nope, wrong. It's the Mets, the franchise that's well-known for collecting Yankees castoffs (and reportedly has their collective eye on Wandy Peralta, too).
Bader was a well-loved 2022 postseason hero in the Bronx, but struggled with injuries and failed to fulfill his considerable potential in 2023. Jordan Montgomery's postseason surge didn't help, either. Severino? He was the prized pitching Baby Bomber, and made the All-Star team in both 2017 and 2018 before injuries knocked his tenure pretty far off course. By the end of 2023, he was several spats with the front office deep, and considered himself the worst pitcher in MLB.
What was the first step for both Bader and Severino after trading their pinstripes for ... bluer pinstripes? Joining the same Zoom; both were situated on the same intro call on Wednesday afternoon. Oh, and yes, they also immediately grew beards.
Former Yankees Harrison Bader, Luis Severino grew immediate beards before joining Mets
Rank the beards? Eh, if we must. Severino's is a 7.8/10, giving off very similar vibes to when Robinson Cano departed for Seattle after the 2013 season. Extremely angular. Well-manicured. He knows what he's doing. But it's not a Red Sox beard. It's not a gnarly rebuke of the Yankees' policies. It just ... looks very nice!
Bader's is a 1.2/10. What is this? I've seen 20 Harrison Baders in the hungover bagel line in Murray Hill on a Saturday morning. Hey, bro, nice flip flops. You lose your razor in the divorce?
Severino's Q&A portion of the press conference was a bit more emotional than Bader's -- naturally, considering how much more time he spent in the Bronx, and how ingrained he was in the fabric of the Yankees' most recent successes. Severino mentioned that, before free agency, he believed he would "die a Yankee." He didn't specify whether he thought that death would occur mid-game, at Brian Cashman's hands.
Tellingly, when he attempted to thank David Stearns and the Mets organization for giving him a chance, he first called them the "Yankees".
Severino deserves a break, and was still in the midst of a dominant run of form as recently as 2022, when he carried a no-hitter deep into a start against the Texas Rangers towards the end of the season.
By the end of his Yankees tenure, though, his shoulder was under far too much duress far too often, and he'd become a shell of himself. Perhaps he'll make a name for himself once again on the other side of town. Most fans, who wished it had never come to this, will likely be rooting for a resurgence.