Only a few years ago, New York media and fans were debating which Big Apple ace was better: Jacob DeGrom or Luis Severino. Well, one year after DeGrom left town, Severino is leaving the Bronx for Queens. Mark Feinsand of MLB reports the Mets will sign Luis Severino to a deal, with Jeff Passan of ESPN reporting it’s a one-year, $13 million pact. Passan also reports that Severino can make up to $2 million in incentives.
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
Mets Sign Luis Severino
Severino struggled mightily last season in terms of performance and health. In 19 outings (18 starts) across 89 1/3 innings, Severino produced a 6.65 ERA (65 ERA+). He had two injured list stints due to a lat and side injury. The 29-year-old suffered from his 18.9 strikeout percentage, the worst of his career and well below the league average.
However, Severino comes with several years of great production. Before 2023, the righty had a 3.39 career ERA in 122 games with a great 10 K/9. His overall production was 26 percent better than the league average, per ERA+.
The Mets off-season needs are arms, arms and more arms. At one year, I like this for what it is. The term makes it a relatively low risk, potentially high reward deal. Now they just need more. A lot more. https://t.co/lbbp17HiDq
— Steve Gelbs (@SteveGelbs) November 29, 2023
How the Deal Fits the Mets
The Mets will sign Severino, once a budding ace, to a low-risk, one-year deal hoping for a rebound. The team has 12 40-man roster spots open and at least three rotation spots available. As of now, Severino will slot into the second or third spot in the rotation, though he will likely slide down if the Mets acquire higher upside arms as expected. If they help bring him back to his old ways, Severino in the back of the Mets rotation could represent the steal of the offseason.
Luis Severino was on my all underrated free agent board: https://t.co/E2dxfS80Da
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) November 30, 2023
While many feel his 2023 struggles could be just a blip, Severino’s injury history is a real concern. He has not pitched in 20 games since 2018, which was the second of two straight seasons of more than 30 starts. Despite the injuries, which have impacted his elbow, shoulder, and lat, Severino has continued to throw hard. His four-seam fastball velocity ranked in the 88th percentile last year with a slightly above-average spin rate.
The Mets are not making this deal expecting Severino to be a workhorse ace. The deal should be considered a success if he can pitch around 150-175 innings at a quality closer to his career norms.
This is the biggest move of the nascent David Stearns era in Queens. Stearns added a high-upside arm who, if he pitches well, can either help the Mets get a Wild Card spot or be flipped at the deadline. It’s a move that sacrifices no aspect of the team’s future while setting up moves that can possibly help down the road.
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