Luis Severino's future is not with the Yankees. He knows that. He's probably known that since long before his cursed 2023 season got underway in spring training, when the cement mixer problem began in earnest. There was more time then, but it all still felt the same.
This is not about his Yankees future. This is about his baseball future.
If watching Severino right now isn't making you empathetic, in some way, then congratulations on being heartless. There's no remaining doubt that the 2017-18 Yankees' ace does not deserve another start for the club, based on merit. There's no remaining doubt that Aaron Boone, Brian Cashman and Co. are doing Luis Severino, the human being, a disservice by trying to squeeze every dollar out of the contract afforded to Luis Severino, the pitcher. He is broken. He is no longer competent. He is unlikely to be saved before the end of September.
But with every public embarrassment, and every "let's try him in the second inning maybe?", and every day where "everything is on the table," but nothing ever changes, the Yankees are hindering Severino's chances of recovering the hop on his once-prideful fastball. That's why a minor-league assignment is at least 10 days past due.
Maybe the Yankees' pitching laboratory doesn't fix what ails him. Maybe all this move does is remove him from the big-city rubber as he spirals -- and, remember, the Yankees can't do this to him, Severino has to agree. But considering the recent quotes the right-hander has dropped, he seems ready to relent to whatever's next. The self-described "worst pitcher in the world right now" claimed to be "willing to do anything" after Wednesday's second-inning implosion in Chicago. That means it's time to have the conversation.
Yankees must demote Luis Severino to remove him from spotlight
It's now difficult to remember the Severino who once was, the Severino who just a few months ago was breezing 100 MPH past the San Diego Padres on a Memorial Day weekend matinee. Since that day, the wheels have fallen off and taken Sevy's velocity with them; his ERA entering Friday night at Dodger Stadium in June was 1.59, and it was 5.28 when he left the ballpark.
Do you remember when Severino shut out the Texas Rangers in June? When he was fumbling for his keys and trying to regain his mojo, that still seemed possible. Now, the keys are down the sewer. Severino doesn't believe in himself. So why does the team still profess to believe in him, instead of following the righty's lead and sitting him down for a while?
It feels extremely fair to speculate about an injury, given the drastic difference between the arsenals on display between Starts No. 2 and 3 this season. It feels extremely fair to wonder if this was Severino's final attempt to pitch through a hidden issue entering free agency, an instinct he's followed too far down the tracks to reverse course on now.
But instead of a phantom IL stint (or a real IL stint), the Yankees and Severino have a third option that (truly) is right there in front of them. Hopefully, for everyone's sake, that last river is breached on Thursday, and Severino, sadly, never puts on the pinstripes again.