At this point in the season, New York Yankees management is looking long-term toward the playoffs, especially as the team hosts a favorable 11-game cushion in the AL East over the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Bombers hope to continue winning games and extending their lead, despite dropping one game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in all of baseball. General manager Brian Cashman made a multitude of moves to improve the roster at the trade deadline. Just before the deadline, management decided to shut down starting pitcher Luis Severino for several more weeks.
The Yankees transferred Severino to the 60-day injured list, giving them an extra roster spot to maneuver while he rehabilitates from a shoulder injury.
However, Severino did not take well to the news, indicating his displeasure over the move. The resurgent starter has bounced back from several years of dealing with injury to have a solid 2022 season.
Luis Severino is not happy about being transferred to 60-day IL. He said he thought he could be ready in a few weeks (he threw at 90 feet today and not experiencing lat discomfort). Instead, he won’t be eligible to be activated until mid-September.
— Greg Joyce (@GJoyce9) August 2, 2022
How well has Sevy pitched for the Yankees this season?
Over 86 innings this year, Severino hosts a 3.45 ERA, 3.47 xFIP, 9.94 strikeouts per nine, 81.2% left on base rate, and 43% ground ball rate. He has given up a few too many homers with a 15.6% HR/FB ratio, including 1.47 homers per nine, but he still had an efficient year after three campaigns without pitching more than 12 innings.
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It is possible that the Yankees wanted to keep Severino fresh, that way, he can make a significant impact during the playoffs and clear a roster spot for Cashman to make some deadline moves around.
However, Sevy believes he could’ve been ready far earlier and helped contribute to the team’s current success rather than waiting and losing his momentum. This year, Severino has relied heavily on a 4-seam fastball, change-up, and slider. Opposing hitters are batting .204 off his 4-seam with a 20% whiff rate. However, his slider has been his most dangerous pitch, generating a .171 batting average against with a 42.3% whiff rate and 30.8% put-away rate.
After acquiring Frankie Montas from the Oakland Athletics, the Yankees project to utilize him behind Gerrit Cole in the rotation. There’s a good chance, though, that the playoff rotation includes Severino as part of the top three. I wouldn’t rule out Nestor Cortes getting that final spot, but at the very least, Severino will play an integral role out of the bullpen.
From a pure roster management perspective, shutting down Severino for a few more weeks to ensure his health isn’t a bad move, but it surely moves against Severino’s progress.