Luis Severino and the Future
July 5, 2023
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When Luis Severino Becomes a Free Agent, Say Goodbye
When you hear a player come right out and say that he’s concerned about his performance, that’s something you stand up and take notice of because rarely do today’s professional athletes admit fallibility.
These guys ooze confidence and bravado and they usually shrug off a bad day with some canned and/or shallow quote which they believe will gloss over what actually happened. Almost never do they say what Luis Severino did last Saturday after he got lit up by the Cardinals in that ugly 11-4 loss in the first game of the doubleheader.
“I think this whole year has been concerning for me,” Severino said. “I want to be able to go out there and help my team. It’s frustrating that I can’t do that right now.”
I’ll give Severino credit for admitting that because he was awful, and has been for the better part of a month. It looked like he was throwing batting practice as he got tagged for nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits and three walks and wasn’t able to get an out in the fifth inning before Aaron Boone sent him to the showers. Five of his last six outings have been poor or downright terrible and his season ERA is now up to 6.30 and his WHIP (walks, hits per innings pitched) is an abominable 1.650.
“Right now, I’m not at my best moment,” Severino said. “I can’t make excuses. I just need to figure out a way to be consistent and get people out.”
I’m so done with Severino and when he hits the free agent market at the end of this season, the Yankees would be well-advised to pat him on the back and wish him well in his future endeavors.
There was so much promise when he first came up in 2015, then had those two fine seasons in 2017 and 2018 when he was healthy and started 63 games, went 33-14 with a 3.18 ERA, had a dazzling 1.092 WHIP, and a 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings ratio across 384.2 innings.
With CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka aging out, Severino - despite some postseason struggles in 2017 and 2018 - was still on the precipice of becoming the next Yankees ace and what was cool about that is he was home grown. The Yankees signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 when he was just 17 years old and then developed him through their minor league system until 2015 when he made his MLB debut and had a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts.
He was already a two-time All-Star who finished third in the Cy Young balloting in 2017 and ninth in 2018, a cornerstone upon which the Yankees could build a potential World Series winner around, and then everything changed. He signed a new contract, and almost before the ink was dry, then came the injuries.
Following that 2018 season the Yankees signed him to a four-year, $40 million deal with an option year for 2023 (which the Yankees exercised) and honestly, that was a pretty good price for a pitcher who had already accomplished what Severino had. Instead, it turned out be a complete bust.
Since that contract went into effect, this is what they have gotten so far for that $55 million investment: 34 appearances (30 starts), 10 wins, 160 innings, a 3.71 ERA and 1.144 WHIP. When you total it up across the 4 ½ years, the Yankees have essentially gotten the equivalent of one pretty solid season.
Severino turns 30 in February, and for most pitchers that’s right in the middle of the prime of their careers. And perhaps all of Severino’s injury issues are behind him and he’ll be able to return to his former glory. It sure would be nice if that happens this season, but even if it does, the Yankees can’t sink anymore cost into a player who can’t stay healthy. No matter what happens the rest of this season, they need to say goodbye to Severino and go out and find someone more durable and more reliable.