Sevy, Bader bring New York state of mind to Mets

January 12th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Anthony DiComo's Mets Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The obvious commonality between new acquisitions and  is their roots: Each has a credible claim of being a New Yorker.

Severino, a Dominican native, signed with the Yankees as a 17-year-old back in 2011 and spent 12 years in the organization before becoming a free agent in November. His career included eight seasons in the Bronx, plus Minor League time in Trenton, N.J.; Somerset, N.J.; and the Hudson Valley. As far as the tri-state area goes, Severino has paid his dues.

Bader was born in Westchester County, went to high school in the Bronx and played parts of two seasons with the Yankees before coming to the Mets. He replaces Adam Ottavino as the clubhouse’s resident New York expert.

With that experience, of course, comes a question that has existed for as long as teams have called the city home: Are some players better suited to the unique attentions and pressures that come prepackaged in the nation’s largest media market?

The Mets, at least, aren’t ruling out the thesis.

“I think it’s important to have players who embrace what New York is,” said president of baseball operations David Stearns, a New York City native himself. “If you’re able to take all these external factors that exist with New York and use it as fuel and use it to drive you, it’s an enormous benefit for all of us. There’s an added intensity here. We all talk about it. We all know it. To have players who embrace that, who enjoy that, who thrive off of that intensity, I do think that’s important.”

Bader, who spent seven years in the Cardinals organization before joining the Yankees, offered his own take on why he prefers the atmosphere of a large market.

“What’s most important to realize about New York is all those things … that you might say are difficult about New York, those are all really external,” Bader said. “If you use that pressure as a guiding force for your tomorrow, for your next decision, I think it can be extremely powerful. And then the payoff there is if you have a great year and the team does extremely well, then it’s a wonderful experience.”

Perhaps most interesting were the comments of Severino, who said that at the outset of free agency, some of his friends and family members advised him to sign in a smaller, less intense market. He didn’t listen to them.

“Thinking more about it, the thing that drives me, that keeps me going is the pressure,” Severino said. “I love being in pressure. That’s why I was in New York for a long time. I’m happy to be in this organization with the Mets because I want to continue to feel that pressure. When I’m not doing good, I want them to let me know so I can get better.”

The Mets have two other New Yorkers on the roster in infielder Zack Short and reliever Josh Walker, both Hudson Valley natives. They’ll compete for jobs on the Opening Day roster, whereas Bader and Severino already have their spots secured.