SSTN Weekly Mailbag: Severino’s Role, Choosing A Prospect, and Trading Hicks!
By Andy Singer
It’s Super Bowl weekend. I am personally not the biggest football fan on the planet, but I do set aside time to watch a little football most Sundays. This year’s match-up may not be the ratings dream that the networks crave, but I actually think the game looks like it should be fun. I’ve always enjoyed watching Matt Stafford play quarterback (and think he’d have more than a couple of Super Bowl wins under his belt if he had played for anyone other than Detroit for the majority of his career), so I’m pulling for the Rams, but I think both teams play an interesting brand of football. Normally, I like the Super Bowl because it means that pitchers and catchers is right around the corner, but this year, I’m left with a baseball void that is sure to come following the big game. This year, I’m focused more on the Super Bowl game itself, because I don’t think I’ll have Major League Baseball to look forward to for a bit longer yet.
As always, thanks for the great questions and keep them coming to SSTNReadermail@gmail.com. In this week’s SSTN Mailbag, we’ll discuss Luis Severino’s role, choosing between two top prospects in a theoretical trade for Matt Olson, and a trade proposal involving Aaron Hicks! Let’s get at it:
Amadevil asks: Severino – He looks like he could be an absolute bulldog as the closer. Why not move him there now?
I agree that Severino would likely be among the best relief pitchers in baseball were the Yankees to move him to the bullpen. Severino has the classic bulldog demeanor on the mound and pitches with tempo and aggression, all traits that are common in excellent relief pitchers. Might Sevy eventually move to the bullpen? Sure, it’s a possibility. Since Severino was a prospect, some scouts voiced concerns about Severino’s delivery, noting that it is very upper body dependent, which could lead to long term arm issues in longer outings. We’ve certainly seen the arm issues that Severino has faced over the last 2+ seasons, so the argument certainly has merit.
However, we need to look at all of the factors here. Severino’s arm struggles largely stem from misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment from the Yankee training staff, which elongated Sevy’s recovery from his initial elbow injury back in 2019. I always say that pitcher is a Greek term for “breaks frequently,” so I’m not sure we can definitively say that Sevy’s arm issues are due to to his delivery. I also think that means that we really can’t say anything about Severino’s suitability for a starting role until we see him try again.
Really, this is a question of value. A good 2/3 starter is much more valuable than a top-flight reliever in a vacuum. If Severino is able to return to his 2018 form as a starter, he is far more valuable in that role than even a 2/3 starter. That version of Sevy is a near-ace, but even 85% of that guy over 150-170 innings is a huge acquisition for the rotation. If that’s who Luis Severino can still be, then I want him as the Robin to Gerrit Cole’s Batman.
All of this is by way of saying that I think it is in the team’s best interest to at least find out if Severino can still be that guy. If he isn’t? Then there’s no harm in moving Severino to the bullpen for good, but I still think the team can extract more value out of Severino for the next few seasons.
Fuster asks: gonna take a top prospect to land Olson (and more) from Oakland. Yankee GM Andy Singer HAS to choose between giving up the shortstop Peraza or the infielder Volpe. what does he do?
GM Andy Singer has decided to throw caution to the wind and will break his own rules about trading top-flight prospects for a first-baseman. At least Olson really is that good, and fits Yankee Stadium beautifully.
While I’m breaking my own rules here by dealing a top prospect for a first baseman, I’m only willing to go so far for that type of player. I will not trade the best prospect in the system, who also projects to be valuable in the middle infield for years to come. I love both Volpe and Peraza. At this time last year, I stumped for Peraza as a guy who was going to turn heads, and he has met every expectation so far. The flip side is that I severely underrated Anthony Volpe. As I look at the prospect landscape around baseball, I am coming around to the idea that Anthony Volpe is likely a top-12 prospect in the game today. That is a hugely valuable prospect, and not someone who gets dealt for a first baseman.
In reality, Oakland needs multiple pieces in return for Olson, as it desperately needs to add depth at all levels of its farm system in anticipation of a rebuild. I’m not willing to add enough pieces to make it worth Oakland’s while if Volpe is included in the deal, so Peraza is the best prospect that I’m willing to offer as part of a package to acquire Olson.
If there’s one prospect in the system that the Yankees should hug, it’s Volpe.
Maceo offers the following trade: Aaron Hicks to the Miami Marlins for Pablo Lopez.
The Marlins really do need outfield help and seem to be willing to add salary this offseason, so they are one of the few teams that might actually be interested in Aaron Hicks in the real world. However, there is almost no chance that they would be willing to deal from the big league roster to make that happen.
Pablo Lopez is a solid starter when healthy, though he isn’t exactly an innings eater. Lopez is the exact type of player that the Marlins are going to hang on to as they try to build a contending roster. As much as Lopez would be a nice player for the Yankees, I just can’t see a Hicks for Lopez swap working in any combination.
However, Hicks to the Marlins for an interesting prospect at the lower levels of the minor leagues if the Yankees kick in some money? That might have potential…