Severino and the WBC
Brian Cashman Was Smart to Leave This Player Out Of the WBC.
By Derek McAdam
February 10. 2023
Yankee fans… we are inching closer and closer to the beginning of baseball season, and in just a couple of short weeks, we will have Spring Training games. Not only will we have Spring Training games, but the World Baseball Classic is also coming up next month, which will definitely make for some entertaining baseball.
The Yankees will have three players that will participate in 2023’s WBC; Nestor Cortes Jr. will play for the United States. Jonathan Loaisiga for Nicaragua and Gleyber Torres for Venezuela. While the US does not have the best roster possible, it still has a very strong lineup that is likely to go far in the tournament.
This leads me to my talking point today. Brian Cashman has made several big signings this off-season, including bringing back Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, but also adding Carlos Rodon to the starting rotation. However, Cashman also made a big decision for the club last week in not letting Luis Severino pitch for the Dominican Republic in the WBC. While Severino is probably disappointed that he cannot pitch for his home country, this is a great decision that Cashman has made.
First, Severino has not had a full season with the Yankees at the Major League level since 2018. In fact, he’s only made 25 appearances over the last four seasons for the Bronx Bombers. The last thing the Yankees want to do is have a player that has been injury prone get hurt while not even playing for the team that is paying him $15 million this season. And it’s hard to blame them.
Here’s the good news for Severino. He made 19 starts for the Yankees last season and went 7-3 with a 3.18 ERA in just over 100 innings of work. This may not seem like much, but he did put together some nice outings. The Yankees want him to continue to grow and be a valuable part of the starting rotation.
Cashman’s decision to keep Severino from competing in the WBC probably stems from a couple of other factors, including the injury to Frankie Montas. Montas is expected to miss the first month of the season with a shoulder injury, but as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I absolutely do not believe that one month is all he will miss. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t return until after the All-Star Break. If he has to have surgery at any point along the way, it’s likely his season, and Yankee career, will be over.
While the Yankees will likely turn to either Domingo German or Clarke Schmidt for the fifth rotation spot, they don’t need another injury to Severino to cause them to have to sign or trade for another starter or have both German and Schmidt in the rotation. It seems as if whichever pitcher is in the rotation, the other will be in the bullpen as more of a long-term reliever.
As mentioned above, Cortes is pitching in the tournament. If Cortes were to get hurt, Severino would be a vital No. 3 starter in the rotation. The Yankees cannot afford for half of its rotation to be injured come Opening Day.
It also could be vital for Severino to not pitch in the tournament. Severino is in the final year of his contract and could be one of the top pitchers to hit free agency next off-season. If he were to pitch in the WBC and have some good outings, it could potentially be seen by other teams. But when it comes down to salary negotiations, teams are going to be more focused on his MLB stats and not his WBC stats.
Obviously, injuries can happen at any point. It doesn’t mean that Severino will stay healthy because he is not pitching in the WBC. However, the Yankees must take as many precautions as they possibly can when it comes to him. And that’s exactly what Cashman has done.
I applaud Cashman for making this decision. It’s a tough one to make, and I’m sure that Severino is disappointed in the decision. However, the Yankees are paying him $15 million this season, not the Dominican Republic. In the end, this is simply a matter of doing what is best for the team.