Severino, Yanks reach 4-year deal
Right-hander expected to start season opener March 28
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees believe that Luis Severino will continue to stand tall among the sport's young aces for years to come, and they rewarded that promise by announcing a four-year contract extension with the right-hander on Friday, avoiding salary arbitration. The deal includes a club option for the 2023 season.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand confirmed that Severino is guaranteed $40 million in the deal, and he will make $52.25 million if the option is exercised.
"He's a great pitcher and I hope he's here for a long time," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. "That would be my hope. I'm excited to get him back in camp, hopefully tomorrow. I missed seeing him out here today."
Severino and the Yankees had been $850,000 apart with their exchange of arbitration figures, with the pitcher filing at $5.25 million. The club countered at $4.4 million, and a hearing had been scheduled for Friday in St. Petersburg.
A two-time All-Star, Severino earned $604,975 last season, when he was 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 32 starts. He will receive a $2 million signing bonus, $4 million in 2019, $10 million in '20, $10.25 million in '21 and $11 million in '22.
The pact came one day after the Phillies formally announced a four-year, $45 million extension with right-hander Aaron Nola. Like Severino, Nola could have gambled by going to arbitration in future seasons but opted for the security of a guaranteed contract.
Boone said he heard buzz about Severino's new deal while patrolling the practice fields on Friday, and that he expects Severino -- who turns 25 next week -- to serve as the Yankees' starter for the March 28 opener against the Orioles. It will be the second straight Opening Day assignment for Severino, who drew those honors last March in Toronto.
Severino was a leading candidate for the American League Cy Young Award through the season's first four months, going 14-2 with a 2.12 ERA through 19 starts. From July 12 through the end of the season, Severino was 5-6 with a 5.69 ERA in 13 starts.
The hurler said he has altered his diet and workout program to avoid a similar dropoff in 2019. He is also avoiding heavy lifting, saying he has been running and stretching often to avoid becoming too tight.
As a result of his changes, Severino said he has lost 12 to 15 pounds and feels "way lighter" than he did at the end of the season.
"I had a great first half and then all of that happened," Severino said recently. "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."
Since making his big league debut in 2015, Severino has compiled a career record of 41-25 with a 3.51 ERA in 96 games. He owns two of the top six single-season strikeout totals in franchise history, having fanned 230 batters in 2017 and 220 last year. The Yankees are 44-19 in Severino's 63 starts since the start of '17, the most team wins started by any Major League pitcher over that span.
The Yankees' most recent trip to arbitration was with right-hander Dellin Betances in 2017. Prior to that, the club had not been to arbitration since prevailing over right-hander Chien-Ming Wang in '08.
"Any time in an arbitration situation when the two sides can agree, I think that's better for the club and the player to not have to go through that process," Boone said.