Luis Severino Joins Mets After Mixed History With The Yankees


In 2015, the Yankees were kind of an in between phase, one year after Derek Jeter retired and still a year from starting some semblance of a youth movement that ultimately panned out in 2017 and into 2018 before petering out for various reasons.

As the Yankees straddled the line of being decent enough to be in the wild-card conversation but not quite being a powerhouse, they featured a veteran core with an aging Alex Rodriguez (back from a one-year PED suspension) and Mark Teixeira on year seven of an eight-year contract signed during the 2008-2009 spending spree that helped result in the Yankees’ most recent World Series title and appearance.

It is the situation Luis Severino found himself in as a top prospect when the Yankees called him up a week after the trade deadline. The Yankees did not part with Severino or other top prospects at the time in Aaron Judge and Greg Bird because of the belief in a better future than instant gratification of the possibility of making a World Series run.

And when Severino was thrust into a postseason chase on a veteran team who just lost Michael Pineda to a forearm injury. There was plenty of good reasons to insert Severino into a playoff race as he was 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA in Triple-A as a 21-year-old.

Nearly nine years later, how Severino’s career is looked back as a Yankee can be reflected on tantalizing but also frustrating, which is among the reasons he signed a one-year, $13 million deal with the Mets as a way to prove he is capable and worthy of eventually getting a multi-year deal.

The tantalizing part is from what Severino did in his first 11 starts as he helped the Yankees to an 87-win season and three hours of postseason baseball with the first of many losses to the Astros. It became more tantalizing when went 14-6 in the surprising 91-win 2017 season and then followed it up with 19 wins and Cy Young consideration.

Those 33 wins were enough for the Yankees to sign him to a four-year, $40 million deal that included a team option for about $15 million but then came the series of injuries which ultimately led to his becoming an ex-Yankee.

In the first year of the new contract, Severino was limited to three starts because of rotator cuff inflammation and a lat strain. The following year was even rougher and not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the Yankees and baseball struggled to finish 60 games, Severino was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery that also saw him get a bone chip removed from his right elbow.

As the Yankees made a slow return to normal, he was in the midst of the final step of an injury recovery but injured his groin in a rehab start and missed two months. He sustained another setback and by the time he was activated from the injured list, Severino was 706 days removed from his previous major league appearance.

The 2022 season started great for the Yankees as they won 64 of 92 games by the break, held a 15-game lead and Severino seemed to return to form but then he strained his lat while allowing three homers to the Cincinnati Reds. In theory, the Yankees could have accelerated the recovery but opted not to because of their lead and his injury history. It was a move that peeved Severino although he understood and he pitched well in three starts after returning with performances that hardly gave a glimpse of one of the roughest seasons in recent memory.

Last year, Severino got a late start because of another injury and he wound up going 4-8 with an unsightly 6.85 ERA. By July Severino’s struggles were so severe he was calling himself the worst pitcher in baseball and removed from the rotation.

It ended in the midst of a 8-2 loss to Milwaukee on Sept. 8, the day before the Yankees honored the 1998 team and at the same time Brian Cashman was sitting in the front row for Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s no-hitter for the Orix Buffaloes. That day, Severino suffered a oblique strain and given the injury history, it seemed rather apparent he threw his last pitch with the Yankees.

Severino threw 12,120 pitches in 141 games, spanning 727 1/3 innings. It resulted in 54 wins and glimpses of potential that ultimately went wrong for someone who showcased the talent.

The Mets figure to be adding more starters beyond a former Yankee prospect and ace but are hoping that some semblance of the early version of Severino appears next season.


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