Luis Severino is staying in New York after all — just not with the Yankees. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the hard-throwing but oft-injured righty has agreed to a one-year, $13 million deal with the crosstown Mets, where he’ll hope to rebuild his stock after a nightmarish 2023 season.
Right-hander Luis Severino and the New York Mets are finalizing a one-year, $13 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Severino, 29, will join the Mets and a rotation in significant need of help after spending his eight-year career with the New York Yankees.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2023
Severino, 30, has long been injury-prone — multiple injuries, including Tommy John surgery, limited him to only 120 innings from 2019-22 — but over his first seven years in the Bronx he’d established himself as one of the better starters in the game when actually on the mound. And then, in 2023, the bottom totally and inexplicably fell out. A shoulder injury in spring training cost Severino most of the first two months of the year, and when he finally did make it back, he was awful: His 6.65 ERA was the seventh-worst among all starters who threw at least 80 innings, and he also had the second-highest HR/9 in the league. His fastball wasn’t as explosive as usual, and he was getting hit so hard that at one point the Yankees openly wondered whether the righty was tipping his pitches.
Severino was a bit better over the season’s final weeks, compiling a 2.49 ERA and 18/4 K/BB ratio over his last four starts, and the Mets will have to hope that he’ll be able to build on that progress in 2024. Again, this was one of the game’s top starters once upon a time: He pitched to a 3.18 ERA with 450 strikeouts in 384.2 innings from 2017-18, earning an All-Star nod and Cy Young votes in both seasons. Looking under the hood, there’s no immediately obvious explanation for his sudden decline last year, and a one-year represents a worthy gamble on upside with a pitcher familiar with the demands of pitching in New York — while giving Severino flexibility to reenter the market next year if he does indeed bounce back.
Of course, a worthy gamble is far from the only thing the Mets need to fix their depleted rotation. Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana are locked in, but beyond that there are a lot of question marks — questions that Severino doesn’t necessarily answer, given all the risks he comes with. Expect new president David Stearns to add at least one and likely two more arms at some point this winter, whether via free agency (Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Eduardo Rodriguez, Michael Wacha) or the trade market (Tyler Glasnow, Corbin Burnes). If Severino third-best pitcher New York adds this winter, it makes a lot of sense; if he’s the only one, well, we’ve got problems.