Did the New York Yankees make a mistake extending Luis Severino?

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

Taking a look at Luis Severino and if the New York Yankees made a mistake extending him for four years.

When the Yankees offered Luis Severino a four-year, $40 million contract in 2019, most believed it was a good deal. At just 25-years-old and plenty of potential left to be extracted from the starting pitcher, $10 million per season was a steal.

Hindsight is always 20/20, indicating that nobody could have predicted the second injury in 2020. Severino succumbed to Tommy John surgery this off-season after feeling discomfort in the final postseason game against the Houston Astros.

Having just pitched three total games last season, Severino was set back significantly. Having pitched more than 191 innings consecutively in 2017 and 2018, backing it up with a 12 inning performance last year was not the developmental step the Yankees anticipated him taking. He was expected to bounce back after a solid postseason performance, but with the coronavirus pandemic shutting down MLB operations and Severino set to miss the entire campaign regardless, the Yankees are now looking back and wondering about their extension offerings.

Will Severino ever become the pitcher they know he can be, or will he fall into a pit of development where he never reaches his potential?

Realistically, at 26-years-old, the Dominican Republic native has plenty of time to reach his potential and find his rhythm once again. He was projected to earn $10.5 million this year and slowly increase by no more than $750K. The Yankees have a 2023 club-option that includes a $2.75 million buy-out if they wish to pick that up. At that point, Luis will be 30-years-old and count $15 million against the salary.

So was Severino’s extension justified? I believe so.

Ten million per season doesn’t even compare to the amount they are paying J.A. Happ. Happ is earning $17 million per year, a significant more than Severino, but should indicate how positive this deal really is. If Severino can return and reach his peak performance, the Yankees will have a dominant starter on a team-friendly contract.

Unfortunately, the word “if” is often referred to in this circumstance.