The Yankees signed Luis Severino to an extension Friday morning, just in the nick of time to avoid the arbitration hearing that was scheduled for later in the day Friday.
The deal has a base of four years and $40 million, buying out his four arbitration seasons. There is a fifth-year club option on the contract, which would be his first free agent season. The deal can max out at $52.25 million over the next five years (thru 2023), according to Joel Sherman and Jeff Passan.
This is a great thing for the Yankees, who get to avoid an arbitration hearing for Severino and get him for a pretty fair price through his age-29 season. The arbitration process is an ugly one, and teams and players alike greatly prefer to avoid getting to that point. Dellin Betances is still (rightfully) upset over his arbitration hearing ahead of the 2017 season. It’s not fun, guys. Be happy they didn’t have to do it with Sevy.
For reference, the Philadelphia Phillies gave Aaron Nola, a debatably less proven starter (though I’d say they’re probably on about equal footing), a four-year contract worth $45 million, which is more than Severino’s base contract of $40M.
The year-by-year breakdown of Sevy’s salaries, according to Passan, is an interesting one:
- 2019: $4M + $2M signing bonus
- 2020: $10M
- 2021: $10.25M
- 2022: $11M
- 2023 (club option): $15M with a $2.75M buyout
Passan explains that the salaries in ’20 and ’21 are larger than you’d expect but lower in 2022 than you’d expect. That’s when the CBA will be renewed and there is no reason to believe that a work stoppage can be avoided at this point. The lower salary for Severino is a small protection in that instance. Fair enough, but I just have to say that I am terrified of the potential work stoppage. It’s a discussion for another day, but it seems inevitable and I’m genuinely scared for when it happens.
The Yankees have been averse to extensions like this in the past, although this is not a super lengthy extension (one year longer than he's currently slated to receive). The only guy they signed to a big extension before their first free agent years in my lifetime, I believe, was Robinson Cano. Their system hasn't produced a ton of guys over the years that have deserved it beyond Brett Gardner (who they signed) and David Robertson (who they let sign with the Chicago White Sox), but the point still stands.
Regardless, this is a good day for the Yankees and Severino alike, as they will never have to go to arbitration with one another and both receive some level of piece-of-mind about their contract situation moving forward. I hope they do the same thing with their other core pieces moving forward as they're hitting their arbitration years.