Posted on February 15, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
The New York Yankees are jumping on the bandwagon of teams giving their young stars contract extensions this spring. On Friday agreed to a deal with starter Luis Severino. The deal will pay Severino at least $40 million over the next four seasons, which will take care of his four years of arbitration. There is also a club option for the 2023 season that could make the extension worth up to five years and $52.25 million.
An arbitration hearing had been scheduled for Friday involving Severino and the Yankees. However, the contract extension saved them both from having to attend. Severino will end up making $4 million this season, a figure that’s roughly midway between the two figures the sides exchanged heading into the hearing. He will also receive a $2 million signing bonus.
The deal Severino got is slightly less than the four years and $45 million the Phillies gave Aaron Nola earlier this week. However, Nola is a little older and closer to free agency than Severino. Also, even if the Yankees pick up the fifth-year option, Severino will still hit the free agent market for the first time at age 29 when he’ll presumably in his prime and able to sign a more lucrative deal. In the meantime, he’ll get a nice chunk of guaranteed money over the next four years.
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“He’s a great pitcher and I hope he’s here for a long time,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Severino. “That would be my hope.”
Over the last two seasons, Severino has emerged as New York’s ace of both the present and future. In 2017, he went 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA. Despite a sluggish second half last season, Severino still posted a record of 19-8 with a 3.32 ERA. On the other hand, Severino has a 6.26 ERA over his six postseason starts. But there’s every chance he’ll be able to turn that around with more experience. Severino also made his diet and conditioning a priority over the offseason to prevent another drastic drop-off in his performance late in the season.
“I had a great first half and then all of that happened,” Severino said earlier this spring when asked about his 2018 campaign. “I knew it was just that I struggled for a little bit. I know the pitcher that I am. I know I can come back. I know I can pitch well again.”
While the Yankees are banking on Severino to be their long-term ace, they are also counting on him to fill that role in 2019. Fortunately for Severino, he has plenty of support in New York’s rotation. The Yankees brought back CC Sabathia and JA Happ and traded for James Paxton, giving their rotation plenty of depth behind Severino. However, there will still be plenty of pressure on Severino to perform like an ace in 2019, especially after agreeing to a high-paying extension.